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Discursive Psychology: Classic and Contemporary Issues

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Abstract

Over the past twenty five years discursive psychology has become an influential field in its home discipline of psychology, as well as in many other academic disciplines, with national and international impact. This is the first collection that systematically and critically appraises its foundational, classic studies, exploring central concepts in social psychology and discursive psychology’s contribution to foundational critique and respecification in social psychology. Discursive Psychology explores how discursive psychology has accommodated and responded to assumptions contained in classic studies and discusses what can still be gained from an intellectual dialogue with these classic studies, and which epistemological and methodological debates are still running, or are worth resurrecting.
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... Up-to-date, there are very engaging narratives of the historical origins of discursive psychology as well as of its evolution (Potter, 2012a(Potter, , 2012bTileagă & Stokoe, 2016). Furthermore, there are many, very informative sketches of its basic tenets (e.g., Hepburn & Wiggins, 2005;Lester, 2014;O'Reilly, Lester, & Kiyimba, 2018;Potter, 2011Potter, , 2012a including presentations of its main features, which I have reported elsewhere (Tseliou, 2015;Tseliou & Borcsa, 2018;Tseliou, Smoliak, LaMarre, & Quinn-Nilas, 2019). ...
... Like in the case of discourse analysis, there is variety in the narratives concerning the history of discursive psychology and the elaboration of the term (e.g., Augoustinos & Tileagă, 2012;Billig, 2012;Edwards, 2012;Tileagă & Stokoe, 2016). Furthermore, there are different narratives, which attempt to delineate the various, existing trends of discursive psychology as well as its historical evolution (Hepburn & Wiggins, 2005;Potter, 2012aPotter, , 2012bWetherell, 2007). ...
Chapter
In this chapter I aim to discuss specific ways in which the theoretical and methodological approach of discursive psychology could contribute to systemic family therapy research. Despite its resonance with systemic family therapy, up-to-date systemic family therapy research has minimally explored its methodological potential for the study of therapeutic dialogue. In this chapter, following a brief overview of discursive psychology, I will discuss three specific theoretical and methodological proposals which indicate its potential, due to their affinity with systemic, family therapy tenets. These include a rhetorical, argumentative perspective to the study of therapeutic conversations, an intersubjective, ‘systemic’ perspective to psychological phenomena like identity, and a historically and politically informed perspective to the study of therapeutic discourse, as depicted in the notion of ideological dilemmas. While providing examples from family therapy studies, I will conclude with a critical appraisal of the methodological potential of discursive psychology for systemic family therapy research.
... Researchers use this method to investigate how people use language as a tool to achieve certain conversational goals and to explore how people construct versions of themselves, others, objects of conversation, and the social world (Potter and Wetherell 1987;Willig 2012). Tileagă and Stokoe (2016) describe discourse as "both constructed … and constructive" (p. 4), where discourse is both limited by the resources available (words, metaphors, common sense understandings) and created by people who then use these resources to build social meanings and worlds. ...
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Eating is situated within a context of politicized issues, such as environmental problems and health concerns; as a result, food talk is imbued with dilemmas. This study explores how twenty-sixundergraduate students negotiate dilemmas around food and position themselves in relation to their eating practices, using Potter and Wetherell’s tradition of discourse analysis and informed by Billig’s exploration of ideological dilemmas. We identified two main food dilemmas. The first involves the contrary values of eating for enjoyment and restricting foods in the name of health. Participants managed this dilemma by emphasizing the limits to dietary restraint and the importance of treating oneself to pleasurable “unhealthy” foods. The second dilemma relates to meat consumption and meatless diets. Meat consumers often positioned meat consumption as natural and meat avoiders as overly moral. However, meat avoiders used several strategies to position themselves as moderate eaters, including emphasizing their practical, not ethical, reasons for avoiding meat. This study provides insights into students’ understandings of the place of food in their lives and its relevance to their identities; it also has implications for educators and professionals who intervene in students’ eating lives.
Article
Since the beginning of the COVID‐19 pandemic, there have been widespread conversations about the origins of the virus and who to blame for it. This article focuses on the online hate directed at Chinese and Asian people during the pandemic. Taking a critical discursive psychological approach, we analysed seven online threads related to COVID‐19 and China from two Finnish websites (Suomi24 and Ylilauta) and one US (8kun) site. We identified three discursive trends associated with dehumanising Chinese populations: ‘monstrous Chinese’, ‘immoral Chinese’ and ‘China as a threat’, which created different forms of dehumanisation on a continuum from harsher dehumanisation to milder depersonalisation. The animalistic metaphors, coarse language, humorous frames and conspiracy beliefs worked to rhetorically justify the dehumanisation of Chinese individuals, making it more acceptable to portray them as a homogeneous and inhumane mass of people that deserves to be attacked. This study contributes to the field of discursive research on dehumanisation by deepening our knowledge of the specific features of Sinophobic hate speech.
Chapter
Although psychological states have been widely examined as social objects in discursive psychology (DP), little is known about the interactional organisation of perception. This chapter is about joint sensorial activities in driver training. Specifically, we explore how neophyte drivers are being trained in identifying and analysing kinetic information—including the car’s vibration, movement and direction—when performing routine car control operations. Through multimodal conversation analysis of four video-recorded examples, we demonstrate how driving instructors gesturally enact sensations to invite their students to “feel” the car’s kinetic status, how they jointly produce coordinated sensory activities and how the sensoriality of the event is intersubjectively established through “feel enquiries”. Treating sensory perception as embedded—and embodied—in practical social activity, highlights the benefits of including corporeality in future DP enquiry.
Chapter
The Syrian “refugee crisis” has highlighted the animosity towards refugees in Europe. The current study explores how Syrian refugees are portrayed and discussed in online discussion forums in both the UK and Norway. A discourse analysis was conducted on two British and two Norwegian discussion forums concerning Syrian refugees. While representations of refugees are predominantly negative, this analysis demonstrates two strategies that are used to challenge rarer positive representations of refugees: (1) media deemed sympathetic to refugees was frequently presented as manipulative and as spreading propaganda; (2) individuals opposing prejudicial comments and supporting refugees were portrayed as naïve. The findings shed light on the notion of “manipulative news” and the phenomenon of “fake news”. Suggestions for overcoming the prejudicial representations of refugees are made. The implications of the current study relate to the current increase in scepticism and disbelief regarding the mainstream media among populations across nations.
Thesis
In this research, the phenomenon of “Anatolian Tigers” which were arisen as a nationwide and even worldwide economic phenomenon in last decades in Turkey was examined in perception of cultural capital. Although, there is no one certain definition of Anatolian Tigers, they are a group of hidebound Anatolian cities which have remarkable economic growth in Anatolian Peninsula since 1980s. The term Anatolian Tigers also define a new breed of pious entrepreneurs. Anatolian Tigers in the region are an essential dimension of growth and development in Turkey. The companies are mainly family entrepreneurships, started up some decades ago as SME sector’s business rooted in traditional and rural environment by religiously spiritual conservative businessmen. This research develops a comparison of Anatolian Tigers business environment both on regional and national level. The initial rhetoric analysis of this research which consist the analysed interviews with the company owners and web pages’ analyses allows us to understand the way of globally successful Turkish companies’ approach for persuading audience by using the 3 structure of persuasion which are logos, pathos and ethos. One of the latest examples of the rhetorical approach uses this perspective for the research and understanding of cross-cultural differences. The cross cultural dimensions between two ancients and similar societies, Greece and Turkey have been examined and compared on national level. In addition, West and Anatolia were also compared based on selected cross cultural dimensions of cultural capital. Cross cultural dimensions were evaluated in 11 factors: Education, Political Trust, Voluntary Work, Political Participation, Life Satisfaction Component, and Trust in People, Fear of Others, Life Satisfaction, Happiness, Income and Deprivation Index. The cross cultural factors of cultural capital identified in Turkey and Greece by applying factor analysis in quantitative research and testing the functioning of these factors by implementing the rhetoric analysis in qualitative research based on interviews with selected organizations. In rhetorical analysis, the analysis of interviews with the company owners and web pages’ analyses the usage of logos is predominating, which makes the audience to be persuaded by rational and evidential arguments. Ethos approach has also a high number of usages in both analysed texts and web pages. Where the company owners touch the ethical and morality importance during their speech and explanations on company web page. In contrast to other two rhetorical approaches, Pathos is trivialized in company owner’s answers. According to the results of the research on national level, all 11 factors of cross cultural dimensions were statistically significant between the two countries (p<0, 05). Education levels were higher in Greece. Turkish people trust more political institutions. Greek people were less volunteering for community and social services. Political participation was higher in Turkish participants. Greek participants were more satisfied from education, accommodation, health and social life. Greek participants had less trust on other people. Life satisfaction level was higher in Turkish participants. Happiness levels of Greek participants were also lower. Income levels of Greek participants were lower, where deprivation index was higher in Turkish participants.
Chapter
This chapter introduces language-based methodologies and methods, which we argue are particularly relevant to education policy and leadership studies. The chapter discusses critical discourse analysis (CDA), discursive psychology (DP), and conversation analysis (CA) (including membership categorization analysis). First, the chapter provides a general discussion of language-based methodologies. Second, the chapter presents CDA, DP, and CA and highlights the following for each methodological approach: (1) the primary research focus; (2) key features or characteristics; (3) the relevant education policy and/or leadership literature, which has employed CDA, DP, and/or CA; and (4) primary resources for those new to such methodologies and methods. Third, it provides three illustrative examples. Finally, the chapter concludes with suggestions for policy and leadership scholars interested in the study of language writ large.
Chapter
Approaches to language and communication disorders may substitute the notion of “language” with the analytical decoding of, for instance, talk, semiotic gesture, and emotional display. In this chapter, a non-telementational framework is presented as a new framework for approaching language and communication disorders. Tools inspired from practice theory, and concepts from integrational linguistics and ethnomethodology and conversation analysis are introduced in this joint framework. However, within integrational linguistics the notion of language (Harris 1981), linguistic models of language activity (Harris in Signs, language and communication, Routledge, London, 1996, Harris in Introduction to integrational linguistics, Pergamon, Oxford, 1998; Love in Lang Sci 61:1–35, 2017; Orman in Critical humanist perspectives: The integrational turn in philosophyof language and communication, Routledge, London, 2017), and data analysis (Duncker in Lang Sci 33:533–543, 2011; Fleming in Lang Sci 17:73–98, 1995, Fleming in Linguistics inside out, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 182–207, 1997; Toolan in Total speech: An integrational linguistic approach to language, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 1996) are considered ontologically troublesome (second-order categories). Therefore, similarities and divergences between traditional models and the joined approaches are discussed by downgrading and discarding orthodox positioning.
Chapter
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This chapter focuses on crying as an interactional phenomenon. It overviews traditional work on crying, highlighting its limitations, and contrasts an interactional approach illustrated with material from both mundane and institutional telephone calls. Crying on the telephone is characterised in terms of a collection of loosely associated and sometimes escalating practices: silences, sniffs, elevated pitch, tremulous or creaky delivery, reduced volume, increased aspiration and sobbing. This chapter documents the delicate interactional challenges involved in recognizing and responding to crying, and how these are fitted to the ongoing projects of the participants. The use of sympathy tokens, sympathetically inflected news receipts and turns that normalize the actions of the person crying are common. The complex practice of displaying empathy is discussed and its procedural and epistemic aspects highlighted.
Article
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Written by some of the leading figures in the fields of conversation analysis, discursive psychology and ethnomethodology, this book looks at the challenging implications of new discourse approaches to the topic of cognition. It provides a survey of cutting-edge debates about discourse and cognition as well as a range of illustrative analyses which show how the notion of cognition can be reworked. This comprehensive and accessible book will make an important contribution to the development of a more integrated approach to language and cognition.
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The recent apology by the Australian Prime Minister to Indigenous Australians demonstrates the increasing willingness of nation states to apologize for historical injustices. In this critical discursive analysis of Rudd’s apology, we analyse the pragmatic and linguistic features of the apology in light of recent research on political apologies as a generic type of discourse. We demonstrate how the act of offering and justifying an apology was accomplished through the use of emotion and identity categories. In particular, we examine how the reason—emotion dilemma was managed rhetorically by tying emotion to facts, and how differing levels of categorization can all be used to evoke support for apologizing for historical injustice. In contrast to social-psychological experimental work on apologies and forgiveness, we show that different levels of categorization — the personal, intermediate and superordinate — can all be used flexibly in discourse to invoke empathy and identification with the ‘other’, and that rather than invoking emotions in the ingroup, humanizing the ‘other’ is a powerful strategy for eliciting support for redressing social injustice.
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Over the past few decades new ways of conceiving the relation between people, practices and institutions have been developed, enabling an understanding of human conduct in complex situations that is distinctive from traditional psychological and sociological conceptions. This distinctiveness is derived from a sophisticated analytic approach to social action which combines conversation analysis with the fresh treatment of epistemology, mind, cognition and personality developed in discursive psychology. This text is the first to showcase and promote this new method of discursive research in practice. Featuring contributions from a range of international academics, both pioneers in the field and exciting new researchers, this book illustrates an approach to social science issues that cuts across the traditional disciplinary divisions to provide a rich participant-based understanding of action.
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We examine the location, design and uptake of reported racial insults and abuse across two interactional sites: telephone calls to UK neighbourhood mediation centres and police interviews with suspects in neighbourhood crimes. In the mediation data, talk about ethnicity and racism was formulated almost exclusively in `reported speech', as a listed complain-able item about neighbours rather than as the reason for the dispute. In the police data, suspects reported racial insults as counter-complaints against other parties, and police officers quoted insults reported in witness testimony as part of their interrogation. We found systematic, oriented-to practices for constructing and reporting racial insults, involving pairing national or ethnic identity categories with another word (for example, `Paki bastard', `gypsy twat', `bitch Somali'). Although speakers often `edited' insults (`nigger this', `white that'), they nevertheless maintained two-word formulations, indexing the swear-word and stating just the ethnic or national category. Speakers further oriented to the `two-wordedness' of racial insults in their carefully managed use of one-word formulations. Insults regularly contained locative phrases (for example, `fuck off back to your own country') and generalizing devices (for example, `and stuff '). Finally, we found a continuum of response types, from explicit second assessments done in ordinary talk, to minimal but aligned acknowledgements in mediation calls, to no affiliative response in police interviews. We discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the impact and relevance of racism in everyday life, as well as providing insights into the sorts of daily conflicts that occur between neighbours, as these are recounted in two institutional settings.
Article
Indirect complaint sequences are examined in a corpus of everyday domestic telephone conversations. The analysis focuses on how a speaker/complainer displays and manages their subjective investment in the complaint. Four features are picked out: (1) announcements, in which an upcoming complaint is projected in ways that signal the complainer’s stance or attitude; (2) laughter accompanying the complaint announcement, and its delivery and receipt; (3) displacement, where the speaker complains about something incidental to what would be expected to be the main offence; and (4) uses of lexical descriptions such as ‘moan’ and ‘whinge’ that formulate subjectivity, investment, and a disposition to complain, and are generally used to counter a complaint’s evidential basis or objectivity. Laughter and irony provide complaint recipients with response cues, and are used in ways that can strengthen as well as undermine a complaint’s factual basis and seriousness.