Discursive Psychology

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SAGE, Apr 8, 1992 - 208 pages
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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.

 

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Contents

The Social and the Cognitive
12
Ulric Neissers Memory
30
Chancellor Lawsons Memory
54
Texts Descriptions and Inferences
77
Description as Attribution
103
Worldmaking and Selfmaking
127
Discursive Psychology
153
Transcription Conventions and Theory
178
Index
196
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Page 2 - And rather than seeing such discursive constructions as expressions of speakers' underlying cognitive states, they are examined in the context of their occurrence as situated and occasioned constructions whose precise nature makes sense, to participants and analysts alike, in terms of the social actions those descriptions accomplish.
Page ii - INQUIRIES IN SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION Series editors Kenneth J. Gergen and John Shelter This series is designed to facilitate, across discipline and national boundaries, an emergent dialogue within the social sciences which many believe presages a major shift in the western intellectual tradition. Including among its participants sociologists of science, psychologists, management and...

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About the author (1992)

Jonathan Potter is Professor of Discourse Analysis and Dean of the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences at Loughborough University. He has studied topics such as scientific argumentation, current affairs television, riots, racism, relationship counselling and child protection helplines. His main focus recently has been on the study of helpline interaction, on interaction during family mealtimes, on the conceptualization of cognition in interaction research, and on issues of psychology and institutions. He a world authority on qualitative methods and has written on discourse analysis and discursive psychology, focus groups, the study of psychological issues. Recently has raised questions about the over-reliance of social scientists on open-ended qualitative interviews. He has taught workshops and short courses on analysis in 10 different countries.

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