Discourse analysis

Taylor, Stephanie (2014). Discourse analysis. In: Teo, Thomas ed. Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology. New York: Springer, pp. 449–457.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_80


The term ‘discourse analysis’ is mostly associated with developments in social psychology in the late 20th century (e.g. Potter & Wetherell, 1987). It gave rise to the area or sub-discipline now described as discursive psychology (see entry), but the original term is still widely used to refer to a research method. Discourse analysis is relevant to critical psychologists for its association with two significant challenges. The first is methodological and concerns, broadly, the status of talk data as evidence. The second is ontological and concerns the nature and site of phenomena which were conventionally considered internal to the person, including attitudes, emotions, memories and identities. Together and separately, these put in question many of psychology’s established premises and claims.

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