Heading south! Importing discourse analysis
Postmodern critiques problematise the import of social psychology into non-western contexts on epistemological and ideological grounds. Yet, British approaches to the discipline remain popular with critical social psychologists in South Africa. One such import product is discourse analysis, which, as a "postmodern" social psychology, seemingly resolves challenges of "intellectual colonialism" by endorsing a constructionist understanding of social psychological phenomena. However, by extending a conception of language into a discursive ontology enables only a partial social psychological understanding of the often insidious nature of experience and social conduct even when discourses change. What is required is an understanding of these aspects of social agency as also pre-reflexively and non-propositionally patterned, making necessary a conception of culture that works, so to speak, directly on the body. This remains impossible in a theoretical system that has to fall back on the notions of reflexivity and ideology in order to explain the social and political determination of experience and meaningful conduct.