Offending the other: dconstructing narratives of deviance and pathology

Paul Flowers, Darren Langdridge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Narratives of homophobia and the repathologization of gay men now emerge and coalesce in often unconsidered ways. Within this paper, we present a deconstructive analysis of a recent paper published within the British Journal of Social Psychology (Crossley, 2004) and highlight how a narrative of repathology emerges through the selective appropriation of particular textual sources. By employing pathological constructions of sexual conduct between men; focusing upon singular homogenized constructions of gay men and simplistic constructions of health promotion and through a process of reconstructing HIV as a gay plague and it is possible to embroider a moral tale which constitutes a further deviant 'othering' of gay men. We contend that by employing (functional) discourses of 'unconscious motivation', together with a constellation of disclaimers, caveats and tokenistic pluralizaron, it becomes possible for psychologists to engage in homophobic knowledge production whilst maintaining an identity as a (dis)interested professional. Our analysis raises issues pertinent to all social psychologists engaged in 'suspicious' research on 'the other'. To this end, we expand our critique by employing ideas from Ricoeur's hermeneutic phenomenology to provide more general discussion of ethical and constructive ways of engaging in textual analyses of persons outside one's own tradition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-690
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2007


  • homophobia


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