Unformatted text preview: own chapter in that book (Parker, 1990). No doubt there are contradictions within each of
the texts too, and, as an advocate of deconstructive and discourse analytic readings (Parker,
1992), I would not be surprised if this was the case. The fifth 'contradiction' she itemizes is
one I take seriously, and with some embarrassment, I retract the position I took in 1989.
Banchs points out that my vagueness over the notion of ideology appears to be the same as
that which attends definitions of social representations ('Frente a esta vaguedad conceptual,
podríamos decir de su definición de ideología lo mismo que Parker critica en la definición
teórica de representaciones sociales', p. 68). As Banchs notes earlier in her paper, the
concept of ideology poses serious problems for constructionists ('El concepto de ideología
plantea serios problemas a los construccionistas', p. 63). The use of post-structuralism at
the time led me to be very critical of the notion of 'false consciousness', for example. Now I
would want to use that notion, but in a way compatible with social constructionism: social
reality is constructed, and the oppressed would tell different stories about their position
under different circumstances, circumstances in which they were empowered to make
history rather than be subjected to it (Eagleton, 1991). However, the question this poses to
SRT is still as cogent, 'how do social representations operate as ideology, and what is so
empowering about 'consensus''?
The other four contradictions can be rendered accountable. Banchs objects, in particular,
to the double-standards that seem, to her, to be used to evaluate Moscovici and those that
appear to underly our own work. On these points she is mistaken.
(i) Why, she asks, do Parker & Shotter (1990) propose to give voice to the oppressed
('se proponen dar voz a los oprimidos', p. 66) when they object to the way Moscovici
wants to study consensual universes where individuals freely express themselves ('estudiar
los universos consensuales donde los individuos se expresan libremente', p. 66)? The
difference is that we were not proposing that such types of talk should be sentimentalized or
theorised as something separate and different from that 'scientists' or 'professionals'. The
problem is one of position and power, not of identifiable, essential properties of talk.
(ii) When Banchs asks why it should be that social representations should be attacked
specifically for leaving the way open for taking cognitions seriously, she complains that if
we want to give voice to the oppressed we cannot neglect what may be going on inside their
heads ('si queremos devolver la palabra y darle voz a los oprimidos, no podemos negar sus
contenidos mentales', p. 67). The problem, again is the power that social psychologist have
to attribute cognitions to people, to treat them as complicated mechanisms, not what they say
(iii) Banchs objects that we attack Moscovici when he proposes to look at formal aspects
of thought and language ('nos preocupemos por los aspectos formales del pensamiento y
lenguaje', p. 67) when we too (Parker & Shotter, 1990) say that we should look at literary
and rhetorical forms ('preocuparnos por los dispositivos literarios y retóricos', p. 67). The...
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