Browsing by Author "Painter, Desmond William"
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- ItemThe social in social psychology : cognitive, postmodern and discursive alternatives to individualism(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-03) Painter, Desmond William; Theron, W. H.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Psychology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study evaluates the development of a discursive approach to social psychology in terms of this discipline's most pressing metatheoretical question: what is the relation between the individual and the social in social psychology? This question is illuminated through a discussion of traditional cognitive approaches to social psychology as well as postmodern critiques of the discipline, after which the discursive approach is introduced to address shortcomings in both these perspectives. The discursive approach incorporates a key insight of recent developments in the philosophy of language, namely that language is not primarily referential, but constructive of our experiences and relationship to reality. By taking seriously both the performative or rhetorical and the abstract-systemic characteristics of language, discursive social psychology addresses the traditional issues of individualism and the reduction of the social on two levels: first, as it is revealed in especially traditional cognitive approaches to social psychology; and secondly, as it supports a set of specifically Western cultural values that reproduce cultural and political practices and power imbalances. Discursive social psychology is subsequently presented as a definite advance with regard to providing richer conceptions of social-cognitive processes and the socio-cultural foundations of psychological phenomena. Despite this there are also important limitations that should be taken into account before discursive social psychology is imported to South Africa as a critical alternative: the focus on language goes along with a negation of the materiality and embodied nature of experience. Because experience cannot be pre-reflexively psychological meaningful, discursive social psychology remains to develop a theory of agency that indicates how criticism, resistance and change is possible.