TitleA postmodern critique of psychology's representation of Asian Americans
NameLiaw-Gray, Jane (author), Boyd-Franklin, Nancy (chair), McWilliams, Nancy (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology,
Asian Americans--Ethnic identity,
Asian Americans--Race identity,
DescriptionThe way American modernist psychology approaches research on Asian Americans raises problematic issues regarding national race relations and oppression. Under modernist psychology, race is typically treated as a nominal, present-versus-absent category, such as on a census checklist or demographics questionnaire, and the complexity of racial experience and racism is all but ignored. As psychologists, our participation in the construal of race as a stable, essentialized entity serves to collude with societal inequities, allowing many facets of race and racism to remain unconscious and operate unchallenged. This dissertation uses postmodern methodology to highlight the ambiguity of Asian American race within the currently dominant black and white paradigm. In accordance with the scholarship of Laura Uba, Michael Omi, Howard Winant, and Dana Takagi, the author argues that race operates as a verb, in which individuals can be racialized or deracialized depending on their context and location vis-à-vis others in society, explores how racism operates via the construction of a racial “other” that differs depending on the specific racial group in question, exposes how race operates in our society simultaneously as a sociobiological reality and as an illusion, and analyzes the strong link between the racial “other” and American ideology. Specifically, with respect to Asian Americans, their racial “other-ness” comes not in the form of race per se but in the form of “Orientalizing” narratives of culture and ethnicity which operate largely unchallenged in the psychology literature. Viewed through deconstructive methods, these dominant psychological narratives point to how America constructs a national ideological identity, preserves ideological (humanistic) values in the face of social inequities, and justifies current power hierarchies between groups. These points illustrate the complexity of racial dynamics that need to be acknowledged and examined in psychology via postmodern methodologies. The author further investigates how American ideological identity is transmitted and embodied in us, explores the relationship between an internalized ideological identity and psychological health, and comments on how these ideological values operate within clinical practice.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 61-64)
Noteby Jane Liaw-Gray
CollectionGraduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.