Discursive psychology and feminism


Ann Weatherall, P.O.Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand (e-mail: Ann.Weatherall@vuw.ac.nz).


This appraisal highlights the productive engagement between feminism and discursive psychology (DP). It discusses some of the confluence and tensions between DP and feminism. The two share critical perspectives on science and psychology, a concern with prejudice, and have ideas in common about the constructed nature of social categories, such as gender. One difficulty arises from the relativism associated with the post-structural theoretical underpinnings of DP, which can be understood as politically paralyzing. Another problem comes from an endorsement of a conversation analytic mentality, where identity categories such as gender can only be legitimately used in an analysis when participants’ orient to their relevance. The high-profile debates and literature in DP shows it has made a notable contribution to social psychology and its influence can also be found in other areas. A particular influence of DP highlighted in the present appraisal is on gender and language research.