Discourse, cognition and social practices: the rich surface of language and social interaction

Discourse Studies 8 (1):41-49 (2006)
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Discursive psychology approaches discourse not as the product or expression of thoughts or mental states lying behind or beneath it, but as a domain of public accountability in which psychological states are made relevant. DP draws heavily on conversation analysis in examining in close empirical detail how ostensibly psychological themes are handled and managed as part of talk’s everyday interactional business. A brief worked example is offered, in which the intentionality of a person’s actions is handled in the course of police interrogation, in ways that perform police work. Degrees of intentionality are partialled out with regard to specific actions or components of actions, and with regard to how actions are described in ways that map onto how crime categories are defined in law. Cognitive states are generally relevant in discourse in the same manner, as participants’ concerns with regard to action categories and accountability on and for the occasions they are invoked.



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