Discourse and social psychology: beyond attitudes and behaviour

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Sage, Jun 1, 1987 - Psychology - 216 pages
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Although much has been written about discourse analysis in recent years, little of it has been intelligible to the average undergraduate or even post graduate student. It has become a field in which terminological confusions abound and a bewildering variety of theoretical perspectives compete. This book, which is aimed at the advanced undergraduate student, is the first systematic and comprehensible introduction to the theory and application of discourse analysis within the field of social psychology and other related disciplines. In the first chapter of the book, the theoretical roots of discourse analysis in linguistic philosophy, ethnomethodology and semiotics are described. Chapter Two overviews the perspective of discourse analysis and illustrates its utility in studying attitudes. The following five substantive chapters deal with concepts which are at the heart of the study of social psychology: rules, accounts, the self, categories and social representations. Chapter Eight then details the practical stages through which research on 'social texts' progresses and discusses the issue of validity. The concluding chapter tackles some broader, controversial issues and identifies future research directions, and an exhaustive bibliography acquaints the student with all the relevant literature in the field. The text is illustrated throughout with examples from written and spoken discourse: newspaper accounts of riots, scientists' conference presentations, murder confessions and people's everyday explanations of racial inequality as well as recordings of ubiquitous ordinary conversations. The authors avoid jargon at all times, even when introducing complex theoretical issues. Discourse and Social Psychology will be indispensable reading for undergraduates and teachers in the fields of social psychology and communications studies, but will also be relevant to the discipline of sociology, linguistics, anthropology, semiotics, literary studies and history.

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Foundations of discourse analysis
Unfolding discourse analysis

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About the author (1987)

Margaret Wetherell is Professor of Social Psychology at the Open University, UK and Director of the Economic and Social Research Council Programme on Identities and Social Action.

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