Relational constructionism

by Dian Marie Hosking


On this page you can find some information about 'discourse' and 'discursive approaches to development and change'. There are many approaches towards discourse and discourse analsysis, which makes it difficult to give a clear definition or description of what discourse and discourse analysis is. For example, discourse can refer to spoken interaction and written texts (e.g. Potter and Wehterell, 1987) but it can also include visual images such as advertisements, films and clothes (e.g. Burr, 1995).

The same is true for discourse analysis. There are very different approaches and methodologies of discourse analysis. An implicit assumption that often exists is that all discourse analysis perse is based on social constructionist thoughts. This is however not necessary.

On this page I will provide some examples and information about the different approaches towards discourse and discourse analysis. I, personally, am most interested in social constructionist approaches to discourse analysis.

Some well-known names

Some well-known names that are associated with discourse and discourse analysis, but that all take very different approaches towards discourse analysis:

  • Professor Ian Parker is co-director of The Discourse unit at Manchester Metropolitan University. The unit has been established as a Centre for Qualitative and Theoretical Research.
  • Professor of Discourse Analysis Jonathan Potter. For more information on Jonathan Potter, his research interest, and discourse analysis click here. A well-known and often-used book that Jonathan Potter wrote, together with Margeret Wetherell, is Discourse and social psychology: beyond attitudes and behaviour. Another Professor with whom Potter works at Loughborough University is Derek Edwards. Edwards too is concerned with research on discourse, and his main focus has been on the relations between psychological topics and everyday talk, or ‘discursive psychology'.
  • Vivien Burr has also written quite a lot on (the meaning of) discourse and discourse analysis. Especially her 1995 book, An introduction to social constructionism, is relevant in this context. In this book, Burr devides several chapters to discourse and discourse analysis. Especially for those who aren't very familiar with this topic (such as students) this book is very helpful.
  • Norman Fairclough, Professor of Language in Social Life, also is an often heard name in relation to discourse and discourse analysis. On this page you can read more about him. Fairclough also has helped set up an international research network called 'Language in the New Capitalism'.
  • Finally David Grant, Tom Keenoy, and Clifford Oswick, have edited a very useful book about discourse in relation to organization: Discourse and Organization. Read more about David Grant or Clifford Oswick.