In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the sciences are described as “going through alternating periods of ‘normal science’, when an existing model of reality dominates a protracted period of puzzle solving and revolution, until the model of reality itself undergoes a sudden drastic change” (Kuhn, 1996. Pg 56). Also known as a ‘paradigm shift’ (Handa, 1986). The purpose of the current study is to define and analyse the theoretical concept of discourse analysis (DA) and its application as the potential new dominant paradigm in modern psychology.
Kuhn (1996), defined a paradigm a set of theoretical concepts and research, unified by a framework that describes what is/ isn’t accepted in a specific area of scientific research. Paradigms have two distinguished aspects, namely a set of core experiments that are exemplary and therefore likely to be reproduced and underpinning preconceptions that condition the evidence collected in the experiments. However early theorists considered paradigms conceptually inappropriate for the social sciences such as psychology compared to their natural science counterparts, citing that there are no paradigms in social science as the concepts are polysemic (Kuhn, 1996; Dogan, 2001). Paradigms have also been described as a perspective of the world or worldview (Fassinger, 2005), a term used to describe a specific set of experiences, beliefs and values that the individual uses in order to interpret reality.
However opposing theorists (Ponterotto, 2005) have highlighted that even though the broad groupings in the social sciences are not derived from paradigms present in the natural sciences, the individual sub-disciplines may still be underpinned by a paradigm or a research programme with similar research traditions. An effective example of this is highlighted in the contrast between two leading psychology theories, namely Personal Construct Theory (PCT) and Skinnerian behaviourisum (Kelly, 1963; Skinner, 1991). The most highlighted difference between the two theories is derived from their individual meanings and intentions. The meanings and intentions behind the theory are the core concerns of PCT, whereas the complete opposite is observed in Skinnerian behaviourisum as meanings and intentions have no scientific rigour as they cannot be directly observed. The validity of both theories is argued and supported, yet they are derived from contrasting paradigms, supporting the notion that paradigms do exist in social sciences (e.g. psychology).
Social scientists have coined the phrase “paradigm shift” to detonate a change in how an individual society organises and understands reality. A "dominant paradigm" refers to the values, or system of thought, in a society that are most standard and widely held at a given time (Gabbay, Woods and Thagard, 2006). Dominant paradigms are shaped both by the community's cultural background and by the context of the historical moment, they can be influenced in a variety of ways (Dynamic...