Discourse Evaluation on Psychological Knowledge Production

Putting Critical Psychology into Practice: A discourse evaluation of the creation of mental health knowledge; 'How I live with schizophrenia' interview by STELLA BREEZE, Daily Mail - 4th November 2003

In this project an article included in the Daily Email publication on the 4th of December 2003 was chosen to be analysed by means of discourse analysis. The article concerned an account of a methodical researchers coming to conditions with a mental illness. Diagnosed with Schizophrenia, the average person giving her bank account elaborated upon what her condition designed to her, how it had been present in her background and who and exactly how others involved in her life experienced helped her to cope with it. An effort was made to acquire her perception of the reality natural to her consideration, whilst putting it on to a recognised school of psychological knowledge. A crucial examination was gone through using comparison of her accounted certainty and an epistemological style of emotional knowledge. The chosen university of mental health knowledge in this research was cultural constructionism.

According to theorists, Friendly constructionism is situated after the fracture of modernist ideas such as objectivity, rationality and fact (Burr, 1995). It belongs primarily to post-modern thinking and is concerned with how realities are produced by the topic. It really is an epistemology that is heavily worried about three main key points: the basic principle of building, the rule of cultural and the basic principle of dialect (Burr, 1998). It is believed that the average person must construct possible and live and think within that development. It is believed that unlike traditional constructivism that the build is educated and perceived by the area and proximity of the given individual to their world. Furthermore, the construct, in relation to its society, can be realized through the vocabulary of this society's culture. Language is believed to represent what is grasped within the vocabulary but not what exactly is outside of the language itself (Cromby et al, 1999). In other words, that the terminology represents a reality reflected by societal worth and shared understanding rather than something that is out there extrinsically. Essentially, interpersonal constructionism can be involved with the usefulness of ideas, ideas and factors of view comprised within someone's terms construct with regards to the power that it ordains certain communities and the action that it offers to the working of people within those groupings. Essentially, the psychology of a person is seen as being immersed within the locality with their culture and cannot have their brain taken off this subjective certainty. From a mental point of view, given the qualitative characteristics of public constructionism, its use of discourse examination, its rejection of quantitative methods and objectivity, truth and rationality to gather defining data, it was made the decision that discourse research was the best thing to suit this epistemological research. The tendency with public constructionism is to draw out the localised interpretation of an individual's account. Or as the interpersonal contructionist and analyst Megan points out 'It is human being interchange that provides terms its capacity to imply and it must stand as the critical locus of concern' (Megan, 1994). It really is with this in mind, that an research was undergone.

In the bill we see that the person involved has used her medical definitions and understanding of schizophrenia to identify her condition. In her accounts she regularly uses the language and build of medical rationality to objectify her experience and construct a reality commensurate with that identified in the mental health domain. For instance, she makes up about her being schizophrenic as not the same as the norm throughout the accounts of her history. She explains that it became prevalent to her in her first year at school but was easily dismissed because of the culture of that time period. She emphasises the importance of social acceptance, suggesting that in her teenagers her different behaviour was not accepted as the culture of the time was grasped as having 'bizarre' appearance (Breeze, 2003). With this we can see that she actually is indicating to us that she experienced bound by sociable convention, for the reason that it was hard to establish at the time that she was mentally ill (schizophrenic). However, now she perceives it therefore, as the established methodical rational of her current position allows her to interpret her behaviour of that time therefore. That is perhaps why she defines herself as a long-term schizophrenic and reveals a strong identity with being a sufferer start condition, which finally forms the basic premise for her reality build. She strengthens this idea of medical rationality when she empowers herself having the ability to determine her condition. For example, she states that 'reluctantly, I decided to visit a psychiatrist on campus and persuaded him that I was OK. I had been asked if I had been reading voices or ever felt I had been in an alternative world, but I just lied and said I was fine. I wasn't identified as having schizophrenia for another six years' (Breeze, 2003). Within this we see that she decides that the Doctor's information of a divided world outside of the one identified by the methodical social norm, is true. Whilst acknowledging that is the reality she establishes that her denial of these symptoms as lies to don't be identified as psychologically ill. This shows that she is rationalising by splitting her experiential life into that of a standard and objective certainty and a perplexed and subjective sureality as is often recommended by the reasoning of culture and methodical discourse when worried about behaviours beyond typical (Bandura, 1986).

Having established a real world of socially described normal behavior and a foiled world of surreality and madness that defines the schizophrenic stereotype, we see how she involves terms with the individuals around her. In her popularity of the problem and the two worlds as one she suggests that 'it was then that it certainly hit me and I got to deal with everything that goes with the label. Schizophrenia is certainly a powerful word. I could no longer deny that I had a serious and serious mental illness' (Air flow, 2003). We are able to see here that she is taking into account the discourse of schizophrenia and the stereotypes and social stigma (ignorance) that go with it. She acknowledges that because now her condition has been given a expression and therefore occur language, she can no longer deny it. It is not so much the inability to deny having the condition itself, as she clearly identified from a young era that she do have a difference to the recognized norm, however the inability to deny the socially produced idea of schizophrenia that concerns language and discourse. At this time she goes onto explain the truth of living with her condition in terms of social impact. She claims that she 'didn't tell my parents for another two years after I was diagnosed. ONCE I finally have, I said I needed mental health issues. They were surprised and worried initially, but have been very supportive, as have my buddy and sister' (Breeze, 2003). Furthermore, she outlines the further getting social simple fact that sufferers of the condition must experience. She shows that 'getting employment is the most difficult thing for sufferers. I'd opt to get in front side of people and show them never be dishonest about it, but there's the fear that your CV will automatically be binned if they know' (Breeze, 2003). This concern with alienation from public normality is heightened with her idea that 'maybe they assume you're going to be unreliable or will need lots of time off sick. A whole lot of people deal with the condition by denial - it's just that this is an health issues'. Here she evidently recognizes herself (and another patient) as needing to confront the reality of schizophrenia. But what is the reality of this schizophrenia? Embracing her 'utterances' and their significance may give an improved sign (Aitchison, 2005, p. 42). Through her use of what 'need' and 'denial' whilst identifying the action she deems necessary to accomplish her condition we can easily see that she actually is detaching her schizophrenia from her simple fact construct once more. She has established that those around her have sympathy and compassion for her condition, like this understood in the study of familial constructs (Robert, 1951). However, we also start to see the suspicion of the wider reaching social bonds where in fact the ideas of sympathy and compassion are not so commonly found. In these accounts we see that she will not automatically identify her schizophrenia as part of her certainty, but that it is a mental disease that she has to pay for.

Having established the annals of her condition and coming to conditions with being identified as a person with a schizophrenic condition, she then speaks of the reality of her condition, diagnosing it and accounting for this in terms of symptoms. This forms the truth of her schizophrenia in conditions of symptoms and episodes; of possibly damaging and unsociable behaviour that need to be alleviated. The concentrate is placed on the need to minimize these symptoms, much like this of a chilly, so that she can operate and function in accordance to cultural and ethnical norms. In this particular definition of her activities we see that she spends short amount of time engaging any notions of relevance or attempts to create so this means for the voices in her brain at all whatsoever. Apart from them being thought as a symptom and eventually a nuisance, she gives them no respect in her account. For example, she explains that 'I've also learned to be better at spotting the symptoms. I stop things getting out of hand by trying to get enough break and leisure. I also avoid whatever may exacerbate the symptoms, such as alcohol consumption, viewing television - which delivers me emails - and venturing out in large groups'(Breeze, 2003). This certainly suggests that her treatment of this condition is not dissimilar compared to that of any socially unwanted vice. Furthermore, we can easily see that she will take public sacrifices due to the idea and significance that she impinges upon these symptoms as indicators of madness within her socially constructed reality. She seems to place a responsibility of removing her recognized madness for the benefit for normal society at the heart of her profile. This discourse of madness or surreal otherness reaches the center of the socially created ideology of sane and is also clearly the thing that she concerns to enter. As the post modern critic Roland Bartes sets it,

'Imagine someone. . . who abolishes within himself all obstacles, all classes, all exclusions, not by syncretism but by simple discard of this old spectre: logical contradiction; who mixes every terms, even those said to be incompatible; who silently accepts every demand of illogicality, of incongruity; who remains unaggressive in the face of Socratic irony (leading the interlocutor to the supreme disgrace: self-contradiction) and legal terrorism (how much penal data is based on a psychology of uniformity!). Such a man could be the mockery of the society: court, university, asylum, polite dialogue would cast him out: who endures contradiction without pity? Now this anti-hero prevails: he is the audience of the written text at the moment he can take his pleasure. ' (Bartes, 1975, p. 3)

With this statement we can easily see how Bartes shows the strength of social building as an informer of the way in which we objectify knowledge so that people can perceive things as sane and insane from the perspective of language. Evidently challenging and indicating the flaw in 'Cartesian' medical rationality as the governor of what is sane and crazy, he shows that someone who troubles this and essentially views outside of their localised knowledge build and its own discourse of your socially governed dialect would be produced a mockery of by that population. He even identifies this in terms of talk, which is what is referred to straight in the consideration. This is evidently the biggest dread within the accounts and central to the individuals explanation of her condition in conditions of understanding, rationalising and formation of possible construct. She actually is essentially using what Homi Bhabha, a post-colonial critic and cynic of founded schools of subconscious thought, especially in the West, refers to as the strategy of making use of a 'localised cultural' definition of her condition and putting it on with an illusory 'general' fact (Bhabha, 1994, p, 62). Essentially, her reality is that her condition is an crazy or 'mad' other that is signified in accordance to the socially created sane that is displayed in her localised bi-polar words system.

The role of 'agency' also performs a significant part in her bank account (Smith, 2001, P. 2). On highlighting an extremely clear socially identified split between what's sane behaviour and what is insane behavior, she shows that although not attempting to, she feels relief when she gets into the hospital. On craving a perceived agency prevalent in her accordance to the ideas of methodical rationality, she seems peaceful at the removal from contemporary society so that she no longer needs to positively suppress and become conscious of the starting point of the crazy other. She tells us that,

'Finding it hard to trust your own wisdom is part and parcel of the condition. For instance, if there is a noise outside that I couldn't take into account I might think it was the voices, therefore sometimes I'd ask Mike or a friend: 'Is that real?' It's still not perfect and I still go ahead and out of clinic. I hate heading carrying it out, but once I am there, there is a feeling of pain relief. ' (Breeze, 2003)

During this bank account we can easily see that she again makes no indication in regards to what the meanings of her voices are or what they could signify. Instead she concentrates after them in terms of unwanted symptoms. We can see that she has removed agency away from a coming to terms with her disease in a personal manner and toward a frequent and vigilant guardianship over her identified sanity. It would seem that with her being used into hospital her bill ends and she does not extrapolate on the findings or experience within a healthcare facility, as though the committing of herself to hospital brings closure to her discourse. Essentially, that her madness and insanity that bears no significance in her discourse of rationality and sanity has no devote the scientifically set up social construction of knowledge. With this she indicates that she's turn into a patient to her condition, rather than polemic agent to the problem, which brings her much needed relief. It is not a lot that her symptoms are being alleviated, but that her symptoms are being recinded from societal knowledge and its own rational discourse of the sane.

In her finish we see how she perceives the stereotypes of schizophrenia as madness. Trying to steer from the demonisation of schizophrenics that she seems is perpetuated by the mass media and other sources of communal informants she suggests that,

'The perception of individuals with schizophrenia still hasn't ended up away. Overall, people who have schizophrenia aren't violent. Certainly it happens because you read experiences about it, but people with schizophrenia are more likely to harm themselves than other people. ' (Air flow, 2003)

In this concluding profile we can easily see that she actually is concerned with the image of schizophrenics as an unstable and essentially violent group of people. She seems to present herself as a schizophrenic who is rational, in control and most importantly sane, albeit with a mental disorder that can and must be manipulated. It would appear that she is trying to appeal to socially constructed definitions and ideas of rationality that may be understood within the culture and language system of English. Getting into a logical discourse that positions the insanity of the schizophrenic as sane, yet subordinate, she succeeds in what De Kaster refers to as 'The mapping of implicit testimonies and discourse, that live underground [and] offer opportunities to open a broad debate, in which the dominating discourse or account can be challenged' (De Koster et al, 2004). It would appear that she's succeeded in attacking the perception that exists in the socially constructed language of the insane so that 'alternative paths are being uncovered, choices have to be justified, resulting in an emancipation effect, which, in the long run, can support personal and social changes' (De Koster et al, 2004).

However, in accordance to the epistemological considered cultural constructionism this description does not automatically represent a truth. Merely among the many possible truths. Similarly, it isn't without critique. Some classes of thought related to cultural constructionism would dispute that interpretation itself suffers from objectifying her experience (Fry et al, 1997). Others would claim that there is an objective truth from which experience can be measured (Smith, 2000). Although language is an element of ideology and experience can be comprehended as subjective, there is a physical world whereby experience can be assessed. The measures to which this can be fully slow by sociable constructionism aren't as yet established.


Aitchison, J. , (2005) Words of your brain London: Blackwell

Bandura, A, . (1986) Sociable Foundations of Thought AND Action New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Bartes, R, . (1975) The Pleasure of the Text, Canada: Harper Collins.

Bhabha, H. , (1994) The Location of Culture New York: Routledge

Breeze, S. , (2003) How I live with schizophrenia London: Daily Mail

Burr, V, . (1995) An Launch to Sociable Constructionism, London: Routledge.

Burr, V. (1998) 'Overview: realism, relativism, communal constructionism and discourse. ' In Parker, I (Ed. ) Community Constructionism, Discourse and Realism. London: Sage.

Cromby, J & Nightingale, D (1999) Friendly constructionist psychology. London: Sage.

De Koster Katerin (2004) Two methods, one point of view, many constructs: on the implications of cultural constructionism on medical research and remedy. Taken from: http://www. centroditerapiastrategica. org/journal british 1/Articoli_Inglese/de koster. pdf

Fox, D & Prilleltensky, I (1997) Critical Mindset: An advantages, London Sage

Gregan, K. , (1994) An Invitation to Community Constructionism London: Sage

Smith, J. , (2000) The Psychology of Action London: McMillan

Rogers, C. , (1951) Customer centred therapy Boston: Houghton Mifflin

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