Dissertation Information for Gary Radford
- Gary Radford
- Library and Information Science
- Rutgers University (USA) (1991)
- Stanley Deetz
- Robert Kubey
- Daniel O'Connor
- Hartmut Mokros
- Bruce Robbins
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Communication and the constitution of scientific knowledge: A Foucauldian examination of the discursive production of subliminal perception in psychology
Abstract: This study questions the role that communication has been given with respect to a received view of scientific knowledge. In this view, communication is conceptualized as a tool which is employed for the representation of a reality. This study utilizes the concept of communication as a mode of explanation in the understanding of scientific knowledge. A conception of communication that is constitutive of scientific knowledge is described and the following claim is made: scientific knowledge is made possible by systems of communication. The question central to an understanding of scientific knowledge shifts from "what is it that the communication of scientific knowledge attempts to represent?" to the question of "what are the conditions of communicative practice through which such knowledge is made possible?".
This second question is addressed using Foucault's (1969/1972a) Archaeology of Knowledge. This provides a conceptualization of scientific knowledge in terms of the appearance and arrangements of discourse. Using Foucault's orientation, the deployment of the term subliminal perception in the discourse of modern psychology is examined. Subliminal perception is viewed as a site of knowledge constitution contingent upon systems of communication. The idea that subliminal perception represents an objective phenomenon is replaced by the consideration of subliminal perception in its status as a discursive unit that is used in particular sentences, phrases, and texts.
Subliminal perception is described as being constituted by a complex set of discursive conditions borne in the context of the struggle for demarcation and domination. Through an examination of the deployment of historical figures in the historical accounts of modern psychology, it is argued that the scientific knowledge about the human individual must be constituted in terms of a conscious/unconscious dichotomy. The split between the realms of the conscious and the unconscious is constituted through the attempt to discursively demarcate a scientific account of the human individual.