This accessible text introduces the key elements of a discursive approach to psychology. This focuses on how discourse - naturally occurring talk and text - can be studied and understood as the "accomplishment of social action." Building on discourse analysis, the authors present an integrated discursive action model which leads to a radical reworking of some of psychology's most central concepts - language, cognition, truth, knowledge and reality.
The implications of a discursive perspective for such topics are explored alongside a sustained argument against the perceptual-cognitivist emphasis that currently dominates psychology. A particular theme is the reconceptualization of memory and attribution. The authors examine the communicative and interactional work performed when individuals, with interests, describe and explain past events, construct factual reports and attribute mental states. They draw on a wide range of empirical materials to demonstrate the methods and analysis underpinning their approach.
Reframing fundamental issues of language and mind as social practices realized in discourse, Discursive Psychology offers a profound challenge to existing orthodoxies while also establishing an exciting new agenda in the social and human sciences.