critical psychology

Read the instructions carefully so that you can properly write the second assigned essay of the second unit. The due date for this essay is May /12/ 2016.

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The text should be following a Microsoft Word format, a letter size twelve (12) and a spacing of one and a half (1.5) between sentences (or line spacing in the paragraph options). The extension of the work should not be less than three (3) pages or greater than five (5) pages of content (not title page or cover of any kind is required).

At the end of your essay you will list the References used (for more information see the text I sent regarding the instructions for writing an essay for this class). Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

The written essay should be a product that reflects your understanding and interpretation (substantiated with arguments, evidence and reasoning, expressed in a clear, consistent, and accurate matter) of the assigned readings and discussions in class. Do not use Internet sources and limit yourself to the assigned texts, the discussion in class and your own argumentative capabilities.


In this second unit we have discussed some of the main qualitative methods of research in Psychology, focusing on how these methods open new and critical possibilities regarding a more in-depth inquiry that pays attention to constructivist, anthropological, phenomenological, discursive and other “alternative” elements (different from mainstream psychology and strict quantitative methods) in specific situations of daily life. Bearing this in mind:

Discuss the importance of these qualitative approaches of inquiry in building and sustaining a “critical psychology” that is interested in understanding how:

1) knowledge is produced, used and appropriated (depending on the different functions of knowledge and its contexts, including psychology) from a constructivist view that questions the fallacy of objectivity (or the “world as given”)

2) experience is framed and signified (depending on the social, cultural and particular context of the group or individual), which critically questions the fallacy of the centrality of the individual.

3) the underlying ideologies, discourses and relations of power oppress, stigmatize or alienate certain sections of society, which assumes the importance of studying the uses of language and knowledge (which are not neutral or “objective”).

Take into account the following when elaborating the essay:

1. You will notice that there are three (3) interests in these approaches of inquiry. I am interested in that you at least elaborate one of them. In essence, the three of them are

inter-related, so elaborating any of them in-depth will be enough for the purposes of this


2. There’s several theoretical frameworks (from constructivist and feminist theories to

colonial and ethnological theories) and methods (ranging from ground theory to analysis of

discourse and narrative analysis) that you can choose from in your elaboration of

qualitative approaches of inquiry. Although it would be recommendable that you mention

them, I am more interested in that you pick only one (a theoretical framework,

paradigm or method), even if briefly as an example on how such qualitative methods

are a form of critical knowledge. Pick the one that fits more with your interests or the way

you make your approach to answer this essay.

3. Remember that the logic here is to discuss how this approaches of inquiry and particular

interests are related to a more “critical” psychology (at least as Ian Parker and Erica

Burman define it) and the criticisms brought forward in Kenneth Gergen’s view of

Psychological Science. Bear in mind that you should at least use one of these author’s texts

(which are the two first texts that appear in the references below). Use at least two (2) of

the assigned texts of the conference portion of the class. You are also welcomed to use

the texts assigned to the laboratory sections, as long as they apply to your discussion.

Assigned texts (in the order they were assigned):

Gergen, K. (2001). Psychological Science in Postmodern Context. American Psychologist 56

(10), 803-815.

Parker, I & Burman, E. (2008). Critical Psychology: Four Theses and Seven

Misconceptions. Hellenic Journal of Psychology 5, 99-115.

Featherson, J. (2008). Qualitative Research. In Stephen F. David & William Buskist (Eds.),

21st Century Psychology. A Reference Handbook I (93-102). Los Angeles: Sage


Creswell, J. W. (2007). Five Qualitative Approaches to Inquiry. In John W. Creswell,

Qualitative, Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (53-

84). London: Sage Publications.

Wertz, F. (2014). Qualitative Inquiry in the History of Psychology. Qualitative Psychology

1(1): 4-16.

Van Dijk, T.A. (1995). Aims of Critical Discourse Analysis. Japanese Discourse I, 17-27.

Langridge, D. (2007). Hermeneutic turn. In Darren Langdridge, Phenomenological

Psychology Theory, Research and Method (41-53). New York: Pearson Prentice


Suggested texts

Teo. T. (1999). Functions of knowledge in psychology. New Ideas in Psychology 17, 1-15.

Goodwin, C.J. & Godwin, K.A. (2013). Observational and Survey Research Methods. In C.

James Goodwin & Kerri A. Goodwin, Research in Psychology. Methods and

Research (403-439). New Baskerville: Wiley

Smith, J. (1995). Semi-structured Interviewing and Qualitative Analysis. In Jonathan A. Smith, Rom Harré & Luk Van Langenlove (Eds.), Rethinking Methods in Psychology (9-26). London: Sage Publications.

Murray, H.A., Skinner, B.F., Maslow, A.H., Rogers, C.R., et al (1961). Cultural evolution as viewed by psychologists. Daedalus 90 (3), 570-586

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