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Title: The self in discourse : contingency and consistency in identity production.
Author: Stapleton, Karyn.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2441 2518
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2002
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The 'turn to discourse' across the social sciences has radically refonnulated the relationship between language and identity. Specifically. identity is seen as being constituted (rather than reflected. or expressed) in particular sets of discursive relations. Thus. discursive approaches (e.g. social constructionism. ethnomethodology. postmodernism) commonly characterise 'identity' as fluid. transient. and contingent. However. these conceptualisations also raise problematic theoretical issues. Most notably. in their rejection of continuity/coherence. they fail to acknowledge fundamental aspects of lived identity. whereby individuals are recognised (by self and others) as continuous. Singular. and coherent. This has prompted the search for a 'post-discursive' model of identity. wherein contingency and consistency may be conceptualised (e.g. Schrag. 1997). In the present study. I propose to operationalise such a model through an integration of Discursive Psychology (DP; Potter and Wetherell. 1987) and Identity Structure Analysis (ISA; Weinreich. 1980/86/88). Notably. this approach is presented not as a 'two-stage' analysis. but rather as an integrated framework for exploring the discourse-identity relationship. Moreover. while there are undeniably certain ontological divergences between DP and ISA. it is suggested that these are ultimately resolvable witfnn the framework under discussion. Thus synthesised. the complementary insights and emphases of DP and ISA. facilitate the exploration of both identity contingency and identity consistency. within a coherent ontological framework. Hence. it is assumed that identity is constituted in discourse. but that it is simultaneously 'suspended' across such constitutions. such that it is rendered socially meaningful and intelligible (see Schrag. 1997). Chapter 1 provides an overview of the discursive tradition within which the study is grounded. together with a critique of certain aspects of this tradition. and the possibility of a 'post-discursive' model of identity. In Chapter 2. the DP /ISA approach is proposed as a possible means of operationalising this model. while Chapter 3 describes the utilisation and methodology of this approach within the present study. Chapters 4 and 5 demonstrate its application to two case-studies of identity production. with particular attention to issues of stability versus variability. Finally. in Chapter 6. the approach is evaluated with reference to the data. and its potential utility for future research is discussed. it
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available