Potter and Wetherell’s (1987) very readable and broad-ranging text Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour remains the obvious starting point for anyone interested in discourse analysis, together with Burr’s (2015) accessible book on Social Constructionism.
Two interesting articles that have used a discursive psychology approach are those by McVittie and McKinlay (2019) and Sambaraju et al (2017). McVittie and McKinlay (2019) analysed press interviews and briefings given by US President Donald Trump and members of his administration and identified a particular discursive practice, a ‘gaffe-announcement’, and the way this was responded to. An unusual study is presented by Sambaraju et al (2017), who examined talk on the links between immigration/immigrants and British residents’ employment. They used a micro-level analytic approach and applied it to transcripts of debates in the UK parliament and to data from semi-structured interviews with British residents who were looking for work in the UK. This is an unusual combination of data because interview data are not often used in discursive psychology research today.
Willig’s (1999) Applied Discourse Analysis: Social and Psychological Interventions provides examples of how different versions of discourse analysis can inform interventions on a range of practical issues. Other examples are provided by Widding and Farooqi’s (2016) critical discursive psychology analysis of the ways in which mothers of extremely premature children made sense of their negative feelings towards their newborn child and their strategies for performing ‘proper motherhood’; and Moore and Seu’s (2010) Foucauldian discourse analysis of interviews with people who had experienced family therapy and who used medical, counselling and consumerist discourses in constructing therapists, therapy and themselves.
Concerns have been expressed about the practical issue of online hate talk and how this can be understood and combatted. Burke et al (2020) used critical discursive psychology to analyse anti-Semitic and Islamophobic talk found on the Facebook page of a far-right organization in the UK. It might be imagined that hate speech is always crude and simplistic, but the researchers show how, in the data, the far-right organization aligned with Jews as a means of problematizing Muslims and did so in ways that marginalized both Jews and Muslims. In Appendix 2 in Analysing Qualitative Data in Psychology, readers will find Goodman and Rowe’s discourse analytic report on arguments about racism in online discussion forums about Gypsies. For a longer version of this report, see Goodman and Rowe (2014).
- Burke, S., Diba, P. and Antonopolous, G.A. (2020) ‘“You sick, twisted messes”: The use of argument and reasoning in Islamophobic and anti-Semitic discussions on Facebook’, Discourse & Society, 31(4): 374–89.
- Burr, V. (2015) Social Constructionism. 3rd edn. Hove: Routledge.
- Goodman, S. and Rowe, L. (2014) ‘“Maybe it is prejudice … but it is NOT racism”: Negotiating racism in discussion forums about Gypsies’, Discourse & Society, 25(1): 32–46.
- McVittie, C. and McKinlay, A. (2019) ‘Alternative facts are not facts: Gaffe-announcements, the Trump administration and the media’, Discourse & Society, 30(2), 172–87.
- Moore, L. and Seu, B. (2010) ‘“Doing family therapy”: A Foucauldian discourse analysis’, European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 12(4): 323–43.
- Potter, J. and Wetherell, M. (1987) Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour. London: SAGE.
- Sambaraju, R., McVittie, C., Goodall, K. and McKinlay, A. (2017) ‘“Just an excuse people are just using these days”: Attending to and managing interactional concerns in talk on exclusion of immigrants’, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 36(6): 654–74.
- Widding, U. and Farooqi, A. (2016) ‘“I thought he was ugly”: Mothers of extremely premature children narrate their experiences as troubled subjects’, Feminism & Psychology, 26(2): 153–69.
- Willig, C. (ed.) (1999) Applied Discourse Analysis: Social and Psychological Interventions. Buckingham: Open University Press.