Psychopathy: Exploring Canadian Mass Newspaper Representations Thereof and Violent Offender Talk Thereon
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This social constructionist program of inquiry begins to explore how psychopathy/the psychopath is constructed beyond the professional domain of forensic psychology. Indeed, while this highly important diagnostic construct is defined and operationalized very precisely by contemporary forensic psychologists, it is believed to be grossly and seriously misunderstood by others. Study 1 examines how Canadian mass newspaper (news) discourse represents psychopathy/the psychopath using ethnographic media analysis. This study rests on the central assumption that mass newspaper discourse provides a key window onto the public construction of reality. Study 2 examines how in-treatment, persistently violent male offenders (individuals with close ‘proximity’ to psychopathy) may conceptualize, experience, and approach (or not) the diagnostic construct, as gleaned through their conversational talk during small-size focus group interviews. The various ways in which these distinct (and contextually-bound) discourses align with and diverge from one another are identified. The various ways in which mass newspaper and offender focus group discourses align with and diverge from the contemporary forensic psychological construction of psychopathy/the psychopath are also discussed. Clinical, practical, and ethical implications of the research findings are also presented and discussed briefly.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeClark, Hilary; McMullen, Linda; Wormith, Steve
Copyright DateNovember 2013