Discursive psychology recognizes the primacy of the social and relational nature of human life. Research participants whose discourses (empirical data) we analyze do not exist independent of material and social world. In this paper, I attempt to develop an understanding of discursive analysis of social and psychological phenomena as a culturally contextualized activity in which discursive researchers analyze and interpret participants’ discourses in the light of the cultural context in which the discourses are embedded. First, I provide a brief background to discursive psychology. Second, I discuss the cultural embeddedness of discursive analysis. I then conceptualize discursive data analysis as a culturally contextualized enterprise by drawing upon my own reflexive accounts on gender-based violence research to illustrate how discursive analysts can bring together an analysis of in-the-moment performative accounting with an understanding of the cultural context in which this accounting is embedded. I argue for and foreground research participants’ lived experiences and the embodied socio-cultural meanings as origins of the consciousness and social behavior of people with whom and about whom psychological research is conducted. I conclude that data analysis is not and cannot be an innocent activity; it involves active thinking through the cultural lens of both the researcher and the researched.


Discourse Analysis, Discursive Psychology, Sociocultural Context, Culture, Shared Meanings

Author Bio(s)

Stephen Baffour Adjei, Ph.D., is a lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Education and Communication Sciences, University of Education, Kumasi campus. Dr. Adjei is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Suicide and Violence Research (CSVR), Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. Dr. Adjei has taught, carried out research and directed programmes at universities in Africa and overseas, including Aarhus University, Denmark; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; University of Education, Winneba and Valley View University, Ghana. He has attended and presented papers at international conferences including the 9th Meeting of the Nordic Network for Research on Psychology and Law (NNPL) in Denmark. He has published several scholarly articles some of which have appeared in such international peer-reviewed journals as Journal of Family Violence, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Psychological Studies, Psychology and Developing Societies, The Qualitative Report, Victims & Offenders, Theory & Psychology and Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: stevoo24@yahoo.com.

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