23 Pages

Challenging the mainstream

New paradigms for old

This chapter provides the major characteristics of classical science and considered their relevance and appropriateness as far as Psychology is concerned. It focuses on the old paradigm – what are the defining features of positivist Psychology as it has tried to emulate the natural sciences. The chapter assesses the features of the old paradigm in terms of their appropriateness for a psychological science of human beings. It considers major assumptions and practices of the 'new paradigm', which represents a range of challenges to mainstream Psychology. Some of the most commonly cited are Social Constructionism, Discursive Psychology, Feminist Psychology, and Cultural Psychology. These are sometimes referred to, collectively, as Critical Psychology; sometimes, Critical Psychology is discussed as a challenge to the mainstream in its own right. We should also note that certain challenges have come from directions that lie far outside anything that could ever remotely be described as 'new paradigm'.