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Parker, I. (1994). Reflexive social psychology: discourse analysis and psychoanalysis. Free Associations, 4(4):527-548.

(1994). Free Associations, 4(4):527-548

Psychoanalysis and Culture

Reflexive social psychology: discourse analysis and psychoanalysis

Ian Parker

Traditional academic social psychology keeps its distance from Freud. While it is ostensibly the most radical area of the discipline of psychology, and is supposed to be concerned with the connections between the social and the psychological, its history has been one of trivial laboratory-experimental studies. Recent years, however, have seen the emergence of ‘discourse analysis’. The study of discourse marks a further twist in the turn to language which characterized the ‘crisis’ in social psychology at the end of the 1960s, and explicitly opens the discipline to a reflexive critique. It is this further turn to discourse and to reflexivity which necessitates a reconsideration of psychoanalytic theory. In this article I will briefly review the dilemmas which structure orthodox social psychology and made it receptive to discourse analysis, and to the notion of reflexivity. I will then turn to psychoanalytic accounts of reflexivity, and contrast Habermas's and Lacan's discussions of this issue before returning to recent positions within the next discourse-analytic social psychology.

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