What discourse is not

Philosophical Psychology 4 (3):325-342 (1991)
Abstract
Abstract This paper presents an evaluation of the role and function of discourse analysis in relation to claims that it promotes critical interventions within psychology. Discourse analysis challenges the function, truth claims and methodological adequacy of psychological practices, through attending to difference, resistance, relativism and reflexivity. However, these features pose theoretical and conceptual difficulties, particularly if a theoretically motivated position is attributed to the framework itself, rather than the ways it has been taken up and used. I explore how these issues are played out in the arenas of (a) research practice, (b) teaching discourse analysis, and (c) everyday discursive clashes. As with other approaches that have generated methodological innovations, discourse analysis can work to support, rather than challenge, mainstream psychological practices. In order to maintain the fruitful dynamic of discourse analysis, therefore, we should acknowledge the political concerns that motivate our analysis, rather than regard them as a property of the approach itself
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