Derek Edwards

  • Emeritus Professor of Psychology

I research and write on discourse, conversation and social interaction, where my main focus has been on the relations between psychological topics and everyday talk, or ‘discursive psychology’. This involves examining the ways in which common sense ideas about psychological states (thoughts, plans, emotions, attitudes, personality, and so on), figure as part of the conceptual resources that people use in accounting for their everyday lives. I also look at the ways in which psychological business of any kind is handled or managed in talk, not necessarily by overtly naming mental states. This general concern with common sense psychological discourse is also the basis of a critical interest in the nature and products of psychology as a scientific discipline. My main resource for examining how talk works, increasingly over the last decade, is conversation analysis.

Among the topics I have looked at are: early child language; conversational remembering; ‘script’ talk; classroom education and learning; conversational narratives; causal accounts and attributions; emotion talk; the deployment of identity categories; factual reporting in the news media; various aspects of relationship counselling; the conversational management of speakers’ subjectivity; complaints; irony; and various recent studies of police interrogations, neighbour disputes and mediation. The latter developments are part of an ESRC-funded joint research project with Liz Stokoe. Much of the other work has also been done jointly with various members of DARG, particularly the development of discursive psychology with Jonathan Potter.

Research on discourse, rhetoric and conversation analysis, where the main focus has been on the relations between psychological topics and everyday talk, or ‘discursive psychology'.

  • Edwards, D., & Mercer, N. (1987). Common Knowledge: The Development of Understanding in the Classroom. London: Methuen/Routledge. Translated as El Conocimiento Compartido: el Desarrollo de la Comprension en la Aula. Madrid: Ediciones Paidos Iberica, 1998.
  • Billig, M., Condor, S., Edwards, D., Gane, M., Middleton, D.J., & Radley, A.R. (1988). Ideological Dilemmas: A Social Psychology of Everyday Thinking. London: Sage.
  • Middleton, D., & Edwards, D. (Eds.) (1990). Collective Remembering. London: Sage. Translated as Memoria Compartida. Madrid: Ediciones Paidos Iberica, 1992.
  • Edwards, D., & Potter, J. (1992). Discursive Psychology. London: Sage.
  • Coll, C., & Edwards, D. (Eds.) (1997). Teaching, Learning and Classroom Discourse: Approaches to the Study of Educational Discourse.  Madrid: Fundación Infancia y Aprendizaje.  Also published in Spanish as Enseñanza, Aprendizaje y Discurso en el Aula: Aproximaciones al Estudio del Discurso Educacional, 1996.  And in Portuguese, as Ensino, Aprendizagem e Discurso em Sala de Aula: Aproximações ao estudo educacional. Porto Alegre, Brazil: Editora Artes Médicas, 1998.
  • Edwards, D. (1997). Discourse and Cognition. London: Sage