Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 9–10, pp 601–608 | Cite as

Never the Twain Shall Meet: A Critical Appraisal of the Combination of Discourse and Psychoanalytic Theory in Studies of Men and Masculinity

  • Nigel EdleyEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

In recent years there have been a number of attempts by different researchers to study men and masculinity using a combination of discourse theory and psychoanalysis. The main reason for this development is the sense that, on its own, discourse theory provides an incomplete account of masculine subjectivity. Psychoanalysis is thought to be able to fill those gaps. In this paper I reviewed these arguments, provided an outline of the alleged deficiencies in discursive approaches to men and masculinity, and examined some of the work that has attempted the above synthesis. I argued that, for a number of reasons, such attempts are bound to fail. Instead, I argued that better progress can be made in studies of masculinity by remaining within the theoretical boundaries of Discursive Psychology.

Keywords

Discursive psychology Psychoanalysis Masculinity Homophobia Ego-defence Subject positions Rhetoric 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would first like to thank Margaret Wetherell for her support and, more specifically, for reading through an earlier draft of this paper. Secondly I’d like to thank Zoe Moorhouse for her help in converting this manuscript into something more compatible with APA format.

References

  1. Antaki, C., & Widdicombe, S. (Eds.). (1998). Identities in talk. London, UK: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, J. M., & Heritage, J. C. (Eds.). (1984). Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Augustinous, M., & Walker, I. (1995). Social cognition: An integrated introduction. London, UK: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Bakhtin, M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, P., & Luckmann, T. (1985). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Harmondsworth: Pelican.Google Scholar
  6. Berger, M., Wallis, B., & Watson, S. (Eds.). (1995). Constructing masculinity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Billig, M. (1987). Arguing and thinking. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Billig, M. (1997). The dialogic unconscious: Psychoanalysis, discursive psychology and the nature of repression. British Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 139–159.Google Scholar
  9. Billig, M. (1998). Dialogic repression and the Oedipus complex: Reinterpreting the little Hans case. Culture and Psychology, 4, 11–47.Google Scholar
  10. Billig, M. (1999). Freudian repression: Conversation creating the unconscious. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Billig, M., Condor, S., Edwards, D., Gane, M., Middleton, D., & Radley, A. (1988). Ideological dilemmas: A social psychology of everyday thinking. London, UK: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Bowers, J. (1988). Review of Potter and Wetherell’s discourse and social psychology. British Journal of Social Psychology, 27, 185–192.Google Scholar
  13. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Carrigan, T., Connell, R., & Lee, J. (1985). Towards a new sociology of masculinity. Theory and Society, 14, 551–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chodorow, N. (1989). Feminism and psychoanalytic theory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Crossley, M. L. (2000). Narrative psychology, trauma and the study of self/identity. Theory & Psychology, 10, 527–546.Google Scholar
  17. Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990). Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 20, 43–65.Google Scholar
  18. Derrida, J. (1973). Speech and phenomena and other essays on Husserl’s theory of signs. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Edley, N. (2001). Analysing masculinity: Interpretative repertoires, subject positions and ideological dilemmas. In M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse as data: A guide to analysis. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Edley, N. (2002). The loner, the walk and the beast within: Narrative fragments in the construction of masculinity. In W. Patterson (Ed.), Strategic narrative: New perspectives on personal and cultural narratives. London: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  21. Edley, N., & Wetherell, M. (1997). Jockeying for position: The construction of masculine identities. Discourse and Society, 8, 203–217.Google Scholar
  22. Edley, N., & Wetherell, M. (1999). Imagined futures: Young men’s talk about fatherhood and domestic life. British Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 181–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Edwards, D. (1997). Discourse and cognition. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Edwards, D., & Potter, J. (1992). Discursive psychology. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  26. Freeman, M. (1993). Rewriting the self: History, memory, narrative. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Frosh, S. (1993). The seeds of male sexuality. In J. Ussher & C. Baker (Eds.), Psychological perspectives on sexual problems. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Frosh, S. (1999). What is outside discourse? Psychoanalytic Studies, 1, 381–391.Google Scholar
  29. Frosh, S. (2000). Intimacy, gender and abuse: The construction of masculinities. In U. McCluskey & C. Hooper (Eds.), Psychodynamic perspectives on abuse: The cost of fear. London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  30. Frosh, S., Phoenix, A., & Pattman, R. (2000). ‘But it’s racism I really hate’: Young masculinities, racism and psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 17, 225–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Frosh, S., Phoenix, A., & Pattman, R. (2002). Young masculinities: Understanding boys in contemporary society. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  32. Frosh, S., Phoenix, A., & Pattman, R. (2003). Taking a stand: Using psychoanalysis to explore the positioning of subjects in discourse. British Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 39–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  34. Gough, B. (1998). Men and the discursive reproduction of sexism: Repertoires of difference and equality. Feminism & Psychology, 8, 25–49.Google Scholar
  35. Gough, B. (2004). Psychoanalysis as a resource for understanding emotional ruptures in the text: The case of defensive masculinities. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 245–267.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Greenson, R. (1968). Dis-identifying from mother: Its special importance for the boy. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 49, 370–374.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Heritage, J. (1984). Garfinkel and ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  38. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing qualitative research differently: Free association, narrative and the interview method. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Illingworth, M. (1992). Mike Tyson; Money, myth and betrayal. London: Grafton.Google Scholar
  40. Jefferson, T. (1996). From “little fairy boy” to the “compleat destroyer”: Subjectivity and transformation in the biography of Mike Tyson. In M. Mac An Ghaill (Ed.), Understanding masculinities: Social relations and cultural arenas. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Jefferson, T. (1997). The Tyson rape trial: The law, feminism and emotional “truth.” Social and Legal Studies, 6, 281–301.Google Scholar
  42. Jefferson, T. (1998). Muscle, “hard men,” and “iron” Mike Tyson: Reflections on desire, anxiety and the embodiment of masculinity. Body and Society, 4, 77–98.Google Scholar
  43. Johnson, S., & Meinhof, U. H. (Eds.). (1997). Language and masculinity. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  44. Kessler, S., & McKenna, W. (1978). Gender: An ethnomethodological approach. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  45. Klein, M. (1988a). Love, guilt and reparation and other works, 1921–1945. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  46. Klein, M. (1988b). Envy and gratitude and other works, 1946–1963. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  47. Kosík, K. (1976). Dialectics of the concrete: A study on problems of man and the world. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  48. Laclau, E., & Mouffe, C. (1985). Hegemony and socialist strategy: Towards a radical, democratic politics. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  49. Macdonell, D. (1986). Theories of discourse: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  50. Moscovici, S. (1976). La psychoanalyse, son image et son public (2nd ed.). London: Academic.Google Scholar
  51. Nayak, A., & Kehily, M. (1996). Playing it straight: Masculinities, homophobias and schooling. Journal of Gender Studies, 5, 211–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Parker, I. (1997). Discourse analysis and psychoanalysis. British Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 479–495.Google Scholar
  53. Potter, J. (1996). Representing reality. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  54. Redman, P. (2000). Tarred with the same brush: Homophobia and the role of the unconscious in school-based cultures of masculinity. Sexualities, 3, 483–499.Google Scholar
  55. Seidler, V. J. (1989). Rediscovering masculinity: Reason, language and sexuality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Tatchell, P. (2002). What’s eating Mike Tyson? New Statesman, 15–16 (10th June).Google Scholar
  57. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Wertsch, J. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Wertsch, J. (1991). Voices of the mind: A sociocultural approach to mediated action. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  60. West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1991). Doing gender. In J. Lorber & S. A. Farrell (Eds.), The social construction of gender. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  61. Wetherell, M., & Edley, N. (1999). Negotiating hegemonic masculinity: Imaginary positions and psycho-discursive practices. Feminism and Psychology, 9, 335–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Willott, S., & Griffin, C. (1997). Wham bam, am i a man? Unemployed men talk about masculinities. Feminism and Psychology, 7, 107–128.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations