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

McAvoy, Jean (2007) Constructing Subjects, Producing Subjectivities: Developing Analytic Needs in Discursive Psychology. In: Narrative and Memory. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 53-62.

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

      Item Type: Book Chapter
      Additional Information: Jean McAvoy is a PhD student at The Open University. After an earlier degree in classics she went on to complete a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Psychological Research Methods. Her PhD study explores women’s accounts of success and failure, the construction of the moral subject, and ethical and anti-ethical ordering of Self and Other.
      Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
      Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences > Narrative and Memory Research Group > Narrative and Memory Research Group Annual Conference
      School of Human and Health Sciences
      Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Graham Stone
      Date Deposited: 29 May 2009 15:08
      Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 14:01


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