Social constructionism, discourse, and psychology

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32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper serves as an introduction to social obstructionist approaches to psychology. It outlines the arguments which have prompted a shift away from empiricism in the social sciences. Harré's (1992) distinction between behaviourism and the first and second cognitive revolution is used to provide a broad historical framework to develop contrasts between mainstream empiricist psychology and constructionist approaches. The central claim is that theories of meaning are embodied in theories of science, and that we need a new (constructionist) theory of science to underpin a psychology which takes the meaningful nature of human activity as its object of study. Finally, the paper introduces discourse analysis as a methodology which can sustain a constructionist, post-empiricist analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalSouth African Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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