Discourse and Social Psychology - Silencing Binaries

Wetherell, Margaret and Potter, Jonathan (1998). Discourse and Social Psychology - Silencing Binaries. Theory and Psychology, 8(3) pp. 377–388.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354398083007

Abstract

This paper responds to the critical points raised by Morgan (1998) about Discourse and Social Psychology. She suggests that the book is organized around basic binaries (inner/outer, representation/reality, nature/culture) which reflect and reproduce logocentricism and thereby phallogocentricism, and she proposes that the phenomenon of silence is one which is simultaneously of particular concern to women and beyond the limits of a discourse approach. The response takes issue with the philosophical idealism and gender essentialism of these arguments, stressing that binaries are made sexist or progressive in the context of specific ideological practices. We disagree with both her identification of binaries in Discourse and Social Psychology and their claimed consequences. The paper ends by outlining some ways in which silence can be approached from conversation analytic and discourse analytic perspectives, and raising some reflexive questions about Morgan's own construction of gender and silence.

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