BRONWYN DAVIES and ROM HARRE INTRODUCTION The idea for this paper emerged out ofa discussion about the problems inherent in the use of the concept of role in developing a social psychology of selfliood. We explore the idea that the concept of âpositioningâ can be used to facilitate the thinking of linguistically oriented social analysts in ways that the use of the concept of âroleâ prevented. I n particular the new concept helps focus attention on dynamic aspects of encounters in contrast to the way in which the use of âroleâ serves to highlight static, formal and ritualistic aspects. The view of language in which positioning is to be understood is the immanentist view expounded by Harris (1982),in which language exists only as concrete occasions of language in use. La langue is an intellectualizing myth - only la parole is psychologically and socially real. This position is developed in contrast to the linguistic tradition in which âsyntaxâ, âsemanticsâ and âpragmaticsâ are used in a way that implies an abstract realm of causally potent entities shaping actual speech. In our analysis and our explanation, we invoke concepts such as âspeech actâ, âindexicalityâ and âcontextâ, that is the concepts central
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1990
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