Professor of Discourse Analysis
Dean of School, Loughborough University
Jonathan Potter is Professor of Discourse Analysis and Dean of the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences at Loughborough University. He has studied topics such as scientific argumentation, current affairs television, riots, racism, relationship counselling and child protection helplines. His main focus recently has been on the study of helpline interaction, on interaction during family mealtimes, on the conceptualization of cognition in interaction research, and on issues of psychology and institutions. He a world authority on qualitative methods and has written on discourse analysis and discursive psychology, focus groups, the study of psychological issues. Recently has raised questions about the over-reliance of social scientists on open-ended qualitative interviews. He has taught workshops and short courses on analysis in 10 different countries.
The hugely influential book Discourse and Social Psychology (Sage, 1987, with Margaret Wetherell) set out the basic features of a discourse approach to social psychology. Other books include Mapping the Language of Racism (Columbia University Press, 1992, with Margaret Wetherell) that studied the way racial inequalities are discursively legitimated; and Discursive Psychology (Sage, 1992, with Derek Edwards) that developed foundational principles for discursive psychology illustrated through a set of analyses of political controversies. In Representing Reality (Sage, 1996) he attempted to provide a systematic overview, integration and critique of constructionist research in social science. He has published a practical guide to focus group moderation based on analysis of what happens in actual focus groups (Focus Group Practice, Sage, 2004, with Claudia Puchta).
He collaborated with Hedwig te Molder on a collection that addresses fundamental issues that arise in the relationship between cognition and interaction (Conversation and Cognition, CUP, 2005). This work received the inaugural book award for the Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis section of the American Sociological Association. The full citation of the committee is here.
A three volume collection of 60 articles on Discourse and Psychology was published in the summer of 2007. A draft of the introduction to volume 1 is available here.
He has published 10 books as well as many journal articles and book chapters and is on the editorial board of 15 journals. His work has been cited more than eighteen thousand times. For more detail on the impact of his work follow this link:
He is advisory editor to the journal Theory & Psychology.
A recent lecture in which he highlights some features of discursive psychology for a Critical Discourse Analysis audience is available here. It includes questions from Ruth Wodak and Teun van Dijk and his responses.
A video of him talking about the nature of discursive psychology is available here.
Information and background material on books (including the full text of Social Texts and Context, and the new preface and postscript to the Chinese edition of Discourse and Social Psychology) is available here:
Most recent articles and some classics are available here:
For a range of images of people and workshops:
Audio, video and transcribed materials associated with publications.
Some information and resources on transcription:
Updated – November 2011