How Psychical Researchers Construct Their Research as Scientific: A Discursive Approach
Melissa Loraine Dissertation 2013.docx (43.88Kb)
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Many academics have attempted to resolve the demarcation problem through boundary work. Due to this problem, it is difficult to distinguish between Science and Non-Science. Even some reasoned Science, such as Psychology, are accused of being unscientific. This investigation looks at how the designated Pseudoscience of Psychical research constructs its research as scientific when widely believed to investigate “non-science”. By analysing this construction through discourse analysis, a better understanding of how Psychical research defines itself as scientific can be observed. The body of data used were works from the last twenty years found in “The Journal of the Society for Psychical Research” as this would allow access to extensive, recent works on Psychical Research. The analysis established that the researchers constructed their work as scientific using five possible approaches. It was found to be constructed with how Psychical research is compared/linked to other science which constructs the research as sharing scientific characteristics with other Science, that Psychical research is constructed as having an improved, scientific future direction which gives the field credibility in this pursuit, Psychical research constructed as having the scientific fundamentals of replicable experiments and results which constructs it as valid and relevant, Psychical phenomenon occurring throughout history and today which infers a longstanding body of evidence important in establishing as scientific and finally as psychical phenomenon as common and useful which constructs the research as having a worthy cause. This study leads on from Lamont’s (2007) discourse analysis into the beginnings of Psychical research being constructed as scientific. This research will allow for understanding into how Psychical research tries self-defining in recent times and a future direction it states to be heading in.