chapter  2
Lacan, psychology and the discourse of the university
Pages 14

Social constructionist perspectives have been very useful in recent years in helping us see that the kind of things psychologists study are created in the very process of identifying them (Burr, 2003; Gergen, 1999). We can now step back and focus on the way mental states and behavioural processes are ‘storied into being’ (Curt, 1994). The social constructionist movement in psychology shifts our attention to the narratives that show us psychological phenomena, and we see the work that those narratives do rather than assuming that we are accessing the things themselves. Discourse analysis has provided detailed studies of the way that psychology constitutes certain kinds of object, actually many kinds of object ranging from cognitive mechanisms to personality types (Potter and Wetherell, 1987; Edwards, 1992), and some forms of discourse analysis have also drawn on the work of Michel Foucault to examine how certain forms of subject are constituted by psychological discourse (Parker, 1992). This is why some critical psychologists have been attracted to Foucault’s writing (Parker, 1999a).