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October 2021

Reflections and projections of the developing self

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 1999; 9: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 29-46.

Abstract: In response to calls for a constructively critical developmental psychology, this paper considers contemporary ideas of the developing self. After touching on theoretical assumptions within cognitive and psychoanalytic approaches, consideration turns to the potential value of narrative. A conception of the developing self embedded within the subject positionings of discourse is then formulated. This approach, defined as discursive ethnomethodology, focuses on narrativization as process bringing together Foucault's (1972) discourse theory, Gibson's (1979) affordance metaphor and conversation analysis. The proposals conceptualize theorized subject positioning as participant-oriented social practices, arguably understood as social affordances produced and recognized dynamically in context. Conversation analysis provides a key method for studying the production of such discursive self-positionings, particularly with regard to the implicit models and metaphors embedded in the talk between parents and young children. Recommendations for more dialogic conceptions of representation are suggested, alongside proposals for a discursive ethnomethodology of the developing self. Concluding comments emphasize the significance of studying talk and conversation within developmental psychology.

Note: Article Forrester MA, Univ Kent, Dept Psychol, Canterbury CT2 7HF, Kent, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): developing; discourse; ethnomethodology; self; CHILDRENS

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