Human Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 163–181

Discourse and Mind

  • Jeff Coulter

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005484316659

Cite this article as:
Coulter, J. Human Studies (1999) 22: 163. doi:10.1023/A:1005484316659


In recent years, various attempts have been made to advance a project sometimes characterized as "discursive psychology". Grounded in what its proponents term "social constructionism", the discursive approach to the elucidation of 'mental' phenomena is here contrasted to an ethnomethodological position informed by the later work of Wittgenstein. In particular, it is argued that discursive psychology still contains Cartesian residua, notwithstanding its professed objective of expurgating Cartesian thought from the behavioral sciences. One principal issue has been the confusion of "conceptual analysis" with the empirical study of speech practices. If these distinct enterprises are conflated, the critical achievements of conceptual analysis are obscured or even misconstrued. A different picture of how best to analyze human conduct and mentality emerges if the lessons of Wittgensteinian grammatical analysis are preserved and extended, one more compatible with several themes in ethnomethodology.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeff Coulter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA