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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
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Depositing User: Graham Stone
Date Deposited: 29 May 2009 14:08
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 23:05


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