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Abstract

Mainstream psychology can often be criticized for turning the liberal concerns of psychologists into conservative practices focusing on the individual. In the United Kingdom, the discursive turn in social psychology has been marked by an audacious body of work critical of cognitive attempts to theorize the social. A particular psycho-discursive strand has emerged, which combines discourse analysis and psychoanalytic theory in an attempt to change both the subject of, and the subjectivity (re)produced by, mainstream psychology. This paper reviews three different psycho-discursive approaches: (i) Hollway and Jefferson's Free Association Narrative Interview method; (ii) Billig's Psychoanalytic Discursive Psychology; (iii) Parker's Lacanian excursions into social psychology. In these psycho-discursive approaches, ‘subjectivity’ replaces personality as the key theoretical construct where the social forms part of who we are and these approaches seem to offer social psychologists the theoretical tools to start to appreciate how individual personality and social context are intimately connected.