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November 2021

A discourse-dynamic approach to the study of subjectivity in health psychology

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 2000; 10: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 547-570.

Abstract: As one of the key tools of social constructionist research, discourse analysis has allowed us to explore the ways in which 'health' and 'illness' are constructed through language. There are two major ways in which a Foucauldian version of discourse analysis has been applied within this context. Discourse analysis has been used to deconstruct expert discourses of health and illness (Focus 1) and to determine the extent to which dominant discourses are reflected in lay people's talk about health and illness (Focus 2). This article argues that in order to progress our understanding of the subjective experience of what it means to be 'healthy' or 'sick', discourse analysis needs to develop Focus 2 through the use of memory work and positioning theory. The article concludes by sketching a research programme for a discourse-dynamic approach to the study of subjectivity in health psychology.

Note: Article Willig C, City Univ London, Dept Psychol, Northampton Sq, London EC1V 0HB, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): discourse analysis; health psychology; memory work; positioning theory; subjectivity; GROUNDED THEORY; CONSTRUCTIONS; PERSPECTIVES; PREVENTION; EMBODIMENT; KNOWLEDGE; ILLNESS; ADULTS; SELF

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