‘I'm not a war monger but…’: Discourse Analysis and Social Psychological Peace Research


Stephen Gibson, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, York St John University, Lord Mayor's Walk, York, YO31 7EX, UK. E-mail: s.gibson@yorksj.ac.uk


The present paper argues for a discourse analytic approach to social psychological peace research and demonstrates the potential of such an approach through a re-specification of the concept of attitudes to war. This is illustrated through an analysis of a series of televised debates broadcast in the UK in February–March 2003 in the build-up to the formal outbreak of the Iraq War. Analysis draws attention to the importance of rhetorical context and function, the inseparability of attitude object and evaluation and the formulation of evaluations as specific or general. Findings are discussed in the context of recent calls for methodological pluralism in social psychological peace research with a suggestion that matters of epistemology stand prior to methodology. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.