Representing Reality: Discourse, Rhetoric and Social Construction

SAGE
Free sample

`This is an admirable book which can be recommended to students with confidence, and is likely also to become an indispensable source of reference for those researching fact construction' - Discourse & Society

How is reality manufactured? The idea of social construction has become a commonplace of much social research, yet precisely what is constructed, and how, and even what constructionism means, is often unclear or taken for granted. In this major work, Jonathan Potter offers a fascinating tour of the central themes raised by these questions.

Representing Reality overviews the different traditions in constructionist thought. Points are illustrated throughout with varied and engaging examples taken from newspaper stories, relationship counselling sessions, accounts of the paranormal, social workers' assessments of violent parents, informal talk between programme makers, political arguments and everyday conversations. Ranging across the social and human sciences, this book provides a lucid introduction to several key strands of work that have overturned the way we think about facts and descriptions, including: the sociology of scientific knowledge; conversation analysis and ethnomethodology; and semiotics, post-structuralism and postmodernism.

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About the author

Jonathan Potter is Professor of Discourse Analysis and Dean of the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences at Loughborough University. He has studied topics such as scientific argumentation, current affairs television, riots, racism, relationship counselling and child protection helplines. His main focus recently has been on the study of helpline interaction, on interaction during family mealtimes, on the conceptualization of cognition in interaction research, and on issues of psychology and institutions. He a world authority on qualitative methods and has written on discourse analysis and discursive psychology, focus groups, the study of psychological issues. Recently has raised questions about the over-reliance of social scientists on open-ended qualitative interviews. He has taught workshops and short courses on analysis in 10 different countries.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SAGE
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Published on
Aug 13, 1996
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9780857022950
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Social Psychology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Ian Parker has been a leading light in the fields of critical and discursive psychology for over 25 years. The Psychology After Critique series brings together for the first time his most important papers. Each volume in the series has been prepared by Ian Parker and presents a newly written introduction and focused overview of a key topic area.

Psychology After Discourse Analysis

is the third volume in the series and addresses three central questions:

How did discourse analysis develop inside psychology?

How does discursive psychology address concerns about the traditional ‘laboratory experiment’ paradigm in psychology?

What is the future for discourse analysis?

The book provides a clear account of the various forms of discourse analysis that have been used within psychology, and provides a review of their significance for a new generation of psychologists. The early chapters present a framework for understanding the origins of these various forms, as well as the differences between them. Emphasizing the gap between discursive psychology and mainstream psychology, Parker then explores relations between discourse analysis, psychoanalysis, social constructionism and the postmodern turn in the social sciences. The final chapters describe the limitations of discourse analysis and explore its flaws as a framework and as a practice, questioning its future within academia and in political and social contexts beyond psychology.

Psychology After Discourse Analysis

is essential reading for students and researchers in psychology, sociology, social anthropology and cultural studies, and for discourse analysts of different traditions. It will also introduce key ideas and debates within critical psychology to undergraduates and postgraduate students across the social sciences.
`For those already familiar with discursive work it will be a joy - Edwards writes with enormous clarity and insight. For psychologists whose work involves an understanding of the relations between language and cognition this book will be essential reading.... This is a demanding book that will repay close attention. It can also be dipped into as a resource for the brilliant reworkings of traditional psychological topic areas, such as emotion, language, cognition, categories, AI, narrative, scripts and developmental psychology. If you want a glimpse into the future of psychology, get this book - the end of cognitivism starts here' - History and Philosophy of Psychology

The central project of this multidisciplinary volume is a wholesale reappraisal of psychological concepts of human action, mental states, language and social interactions. Derek Edwards reviews a wide range of thought and research to demonstrate how the dominant cognitive approach to psychology has failed. He makes a compelling case for language to be best understood as a kind of activity, as discourse.

The argument draws upon ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, linguistic philosophy and social studies of science. These influences underpin a fascinating intellectual survey ranging across cognitivism, discursive psychology, shared knowledge, categories and metaphor, emotion and narrative. The emphasis throughout is on the value of close empirical study of text and talk, through which the topics of mind, world and `who we are' are seen as `ways of talking'.

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