Chapter 1: Realism, Relativism and Critique in Psychology
Realism, relativism and critique in psychology This book explores disputed claims about what we can know of reality in social constructionist and discursive research in psychology. Among the questions the contributors address are the following: should pragmatic and relativist views of meaning and the world necessarily be adopted by discourse analysts?; where is ‘the real’ in contemporary critical research in psychology?; and how does the turn-to-language affect, encourage or inhibit perspectives for change? The book explores connections between theory, method and politics in social research, with particular reference to social constructionist and discursive debates in psychology. The last ten years have seen an increasing interest in social constructionist perspectives in psychology in general, and in approaches which locate the stuff of psychology in discourse in particular (Gergen, 1985, 1994; Harré and Gillett, 1994; Potter and Wetherell, 1987; Shotter, 1993, Wetherell and Potter, 1992). This represents a critical reflexive movement away ...