The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Discursive psychology

Discursive psychology is a school of psychology developed in the 1990s by Jonathan Potter and Derek Edwards at Loughborough University. It is based on the philosophy of language of the later Wittgenstein, and the conversation analysis of Harvey Sacks. Discursive psychologists tend to make very detailed studies of the 'real world' use of language, in an attempt to see how language functions as a social process. In particular, these studies highlight the way people construct versions of 'mental', 'social' and 'material' events and processes as parts of particular practices. Recently the focus has been on interaction in everyday and institutional settings such as relationship counselling, child protection helplines, and neighbour mediation. It is philosophically opposed to more traditional cognitivist approaches to language.

Further reading

Edwards, D (1997) Discourse and Cognition. London: Sage.

Edwards, D., & Potter, J. (1992). 'Discursive Psychology' (ISBN 0803984421) London: Sage.

Harré, Rom, & Gillet, Grant. (1994). The Discursive Mind . London: Sage.

Potter, J. & Hepburn, A. (2003). I’m a bit concerned – Early actions and psychological constructions in a child protection helpline, Research on Language and Social Interaction, 36, 197-240.


Last updated: 05-07-2005 13:48:39
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04