Deconstructing Social Psychology by Ian Parker, John Shotter

By Ian Parker, John Shotter

This booklet will be of curiosity to IDeconstructing Social PsychologyN offers a powerful collection of new serious writing in social psychology. it is going to be an invaluable textual content for college students of pyschology, social technology, and sociology, and for these operating within the quarter of language.

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Actually there are psychological studies which show gays to have personalities which are, on the average, at least as well, and perhaps better, integrated and more flexible than those of non-gays). (Goodman et al 1983: 18) In these examples, the writers argue that what appears to be supported by science is in fact based only on social beliefs, ideology and myth: evidence which contradicts these myths and stereotypes has been mystified or rationalised away. True science would describe the nature of oppression and demonstrate the equality (or even superiority) of the oppressed.

In fact, the argument against common sense is not based upon an alleged empirical finding. It is a philosophical argument, which would still be made, regardless of whether the experimental results fall one side or the other of the conventional boundary dividing the significant result from the non-significant one. The argument is that common sense is inherently suspect, because it is unscientific. This argument was clearly expressed, for example, in Fritz Heider’s Psychology of Interpersonal Relations (1958), which advocated a ‘naive’ or ‘common sense’ psychology.

Soon experimental evidence was produced to show that sometimes groups could be more cautious than individuals, and, thus, there [57] was a cautious-shift, to match the risky-shift (Fraser, Gouge, and Billig 1971). Explanations and psychological principles were formulated to explain why groups could be more risky, less risky and just the same as individuals. Later, it was suggested that the shifts had nothing to do with risk or caution, but that there was a general principle that groups become more extreme than individuals: they polarise individual tendencies, whether towards conservatism or towards risk (Moscovici and Zavalloni 1969).

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