Postmodern Psychology – Socially Constructed Selves

The Postmodern psychology of the socially constructed self was developed by Jacques Lacan, a French psychologist, who was one of four French intellectuals of the 1960s whose writings forged much of Postmodern thought.1 “Lacan’s vision of the self is outlined in his famous essay, ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I,’ first published in 1949” writes Glenn Ward. Then, quoting Lacan, “‘Selfhood is really nothing but a fleeting, unstable, incomplete and open-minded mess of desires which cannot be fulfilled.’”2

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Postmodern Psychology

Postmodern Psychology – Introduction
Postmodern psychology is summed-up well by Walter Truett Anderson, “All ideas about human reality are social constructions.”1

Psychology, understood as the study of the psyche, or soul, has fallen on hard times. Traditionally, we understood our personal identity as what we are born with—a stable, unified soul including mind, heart, will, and conscience. Yet, in recent years, our Postmodern condition has made the concept of a “soul” obsolete. Now, instead of being a soul, we are confronted with a multiplicity of “selves.”2

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What Is Postmodern Psychology?

By Wikipedia

Postmodern psychology is an approach to psychology that questions whether an ultimate or singular version of truth is actually possible within the field of psychology. This type of psychological approach relies on using a range of different methodologies rather than a singular approach.

Psychologists who use this postmodern theory view reality as complex and avoid singular approaches in order to counteract or avoid oversimplification. Post-modernism curtails rationale as by definition it is an abstract "non-existent" method being limited as post modernism and being virtually inseparable from regular standards of today, whilst given as an unlimited ethos. With postmodern psychology the normal technique of philosophical debunking of rationale becomes paradoxically problematic.

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A Critique of Postmodern Psychology

A socially constructed, unstable self creates special difficulties in the area of law, crime, and punishment. For example, if a self were to “flux” quickly, a criminal act on a particular night of rape and pillage may be blamed on a previous shifting self, making it difficult to locate and punish the guilty “self.” Louis Sass, a Rutgers clinical psychology professor, puts it this way, “There are clearly dangers in giving up that notion of a single self. You absolve the person of responsibility for making judgments.” Imagine the excuses people might make: “Hey, it wasn’t my fault. One of my other selves did it.”1

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