Discursive Psychology


Discursive psychology (DP) is a theoretical and analytical approach to talk and text that examines the construction and consequences of psychological concepts in social interaction. That is, it examines psychological issues—such as emotions, minds, and identities—as these are invoked and made relevant by people as they talk, write, and interact with each other. It thus begins with social practices rather than with individual states of mind or being. DP is a form of discourse analysis and is a vibrant and critical research methodology used within the social sciences. The theoretical principles of DP enable it to provide not only a means of conducting research but also a radical departure from approaches that relegate language to a medium for describing cognitive states. This entry provides an overview of the theoretical principles of DP, its historical development, and an explanation of its methodological stages. Examples of research areas in DP are then presented, followed by a discussion of prominent debates and a consideration of future possibilities for research in this field.

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