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Constructing Subjects,\ud Producing Subjectivities:\ud Developing Analytic Needs in\ud Discursive Psychology

By Jean McAvoy


The publication of Potter and Wetherell’s (1987) blueprint for a discursive\ud social psychology was a pivotal moment in the discursive turn in psychology.\ud That transformational text went on to underpin much contemporary discursive\ud psychology; paving the way for what has become an enriching range of\ud analytic approaches, and epistemological and ontological arguments\ud (Wetherell, Taylor and Yates, 2001a; 2001b). Twenty years on, and as\ud discursive psychology continues to develop, the approaches it encompasses are\ud becoming more vibrantly contested and a range of positions are forming\ud around what one might appropriately designate a discursive psychology, and\ud what form that discursive psychology should take (Wetherell, forthcoming,\ud 2007).\ud In this exploratory paper I pursue some of these debates insofar as they\ud offer analytic resources for my PhD study of women’s accounts of success and\ud failure. I outline two different strands in discursive psychology; an\ud epistemological constructionism concerned with how meaning is established in\ud interaction; and an ontological constructionism, which takes this somewhat\ud further by looking at the implications of constructions for subjects and\ud subjectivity. I consider a range of resources available for a discursive\ud psychology attentive to the everyday practices of lived lives, to the\ud intersubjective production of meanings and to the theorisation of individual\ud history and individual differences. As part of this, I explore the potential\ud contribution of a psycho-social discursive psychology, significant for the\ud inextricable connection it makes between individual and society, and for how it\ud might inform notions of a dynamic, acting, individual. In this, however, I query\ud whether a discursive psycho-social psychology must necessarily draw upon\ud traditional psychoanalytic architectures

Topics: BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

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