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Dr David Kaposi

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Social Psychology
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Psychology
  • Psychology
  • david.kaposi

Professional biography


Diploma in Literature and Linguistics (Budapest, ELTE)
Diploma in Psychology (Budapest, ELTE)
PhD (Loughborough)

Professional affiliations

British Sociological Association
European Association of Israel Studies
Foundation for Psychotherapy and Counselling
British Psychoanalytic Council
Journalism and Discourse Studies advisory board


Research interests

Research interests

Having born in a football stadium (MTK Budapest), I am fascinated by people’s arguments and the emotional investments that lie behind them. These can make discourse break down but might, if contained, also contribute to constructive dialogue on personal and social-political issues. Somewhere along this line, I have become a rhetorical psychologist, with a developing interest in psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychosocial studies.

I first examined these topics for my PhD under the guidance of Mick Billig, as I looked at the notorious exchange of letters that occurred in the wake of the Eichmann trial, between political theorist Hannah Arendt and historian of religion Gershom Scholem. Later on, I analyzed the British broadsheets’ coverage of the first Gaza war, a project that evolved into a monograph. At the moment, I am developing a research project which would move beyond the level of facts, arguments and even critical perspectives, and would examine the subjective side of the discourse on Israel/Palestine as manifested in people’s debates and biographical narratives.

Conceptually, my interest lies in understanding the relationship between violence and identity, and how violent/traumatic events can be made sense of and thereby reintegrated in discourses that they would otherwise tear apart.

Ongoing research projects:

1. From construction to destruction: The subjective side of the Israel/Palestine discourse

Based on my book Violence and Understanding in Gaza (Palgrave, 2014), this project aims to develop an empirically informed theoretical framework to understand (and possibly counter-act) the well-documented phenomenon whereby discussions/debates/negotiations on the topic of Israel/Palestine turn into some destructive discursive affair.

In particular, using empirical tools informed by critical discursive psychology and psychodynamically oriented psychosocial studies, the project seeks to investigate:

  • the boundary between construction and destruction in debates about Israel and Palestine; that is, those junctures in public debates where a constructive discussion of issues and exchange of ideas turns or is in danger in turning into something personal: a destructive "word-fare" and exchange of offenses
  • the subjective side of political-moral positions consciously adopted in the debates; that is, how stakeholders convey the development of their political-moral positions and construct engagements with alternative positions through their biographical narratives.

Thus, the project aims to move beyond facts and decontexualized arguments. Instead, it aims to focus on the discursive practices by which a mutual space in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is con/destructed and the narratives by which positions in these debates are accounted for. It is hoped that by a discursively and psychodynamically informed understanding, contribution can be made to the very conditions that sustain (or otherwise) the co-constructions of the conflict.

2. Practices of Qualitative Research (with Dr Laura McGrath, University of East London)

Whilst qualitative research in psychology has achieved some considerable institutional success and is now firmly established as part of the curriculum, there is very little known about what its practitioners actually do. In the place of a reflective account of its practices, what we have is a somewhat simplistic, linear narrative of procedures which, arguably, sits uneasily with the self-image of the endeavour.

This project attempts to focus and reflect, first on actual practices/dilemmas of qualitative researchers as they do qualitative research; and, second, on what arguably is the gist of their activity: interpretation. As such, it seeks to take into account the state of qualitative research and ponder what a practice of qualitative research that is congruent with its idealistic beginnings, present practices and institutional realities would look like.


Recent publications


Kaposi, D. (2014). Violence and Understanding in Gaza: The British broadsheets’ coverage of the war. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kaposi, D. (2012). Antisemitism, Israel and the limits of criticism. Research report to the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Hebrew University: Jerusalem.

Peer Reviewed Journal Papers

Kaposi, D. (under review). White mythology: The Times’ engagement with the Israeli use of white phosphorous during the first Gaza war. Media, Conflict & War.

Kaposi, D. (under review). Two denials of liberty: Morality, authority and obedience in the “Milgram experiments”. Theory & Psychology.

Kaposi, D. (2015, forthcoming). The Breakdown of discourse – Post-Holocaust Jewish identity and the Scholem-Arendt correspondence. European Journal of Jewish Studies, 8(2).

Kaposi, D. (2015, forthcoming). Methodological implications of a large-scale study: The British broadsheets’ coverage of the first Gaza war.Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 7(1).

Kaposi, D. (2013). The crooked timber of identity: integrating discursive, critical, and psychosocial analysis. British Journal of Social Psychology, 52(2), 310-28. DOI:10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02074.x

Kaposi, D. & Dell, P. (2012). Discourses of plagiarism: moralist, proceduralist, developmental and inter-textual approaches. British Journal of the Sociology of Education, 33(6), 813-830. DOI:10.1080/01425692.2012.686897

Kaposi, D. (2012) Truth and Rhetoric: The Promise of John Dean's Memory to the Discipline of Psychology. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 42(1), 1-19. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-5914.2011.00473.x

Kaposi, D. (2010). Between orient and occident: politics, tradition and the limits of criticism in the Scholem–Arendt exchange. Journal of Language and Politics, 9(3), 409–432. DOI:10.1075/jlp.9.3.04kap

Kaposi, D. (2009). The unbearable lightness of identity: membership, tradition and the Jewish anti-Semite in Gershom Scholem’s letter to Hannah Arendt. Critical Discourse Studies, 6(4), 269–281. DOI:10.1080/17405900903181010

Kaposi, D. (2008). To Judge or Not to Judge: The clash of perspectives in the Scholem-Arendt Exchange. Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, 14(1), 95-119.

Kaposi, D. (2004). Tetten ért emlékek – Egy diszkurzív kutatás esélyei. [How to do Things with Memories? – Ideas for a Discursive Research of Remembering.] Hungarian Psychological Review, 58(4), 301-320.

Kaposi, D. (2003). Narrativlosigkeit. Kulturelle Schemen und der Roman eines SchicksallosenHungarian Studies, 17(2), 183-213.

Kaposi, D. (2002). Narrativeless – Cultural Concepts and the Fateless. Spiel: Siegener Periodicum für Empirische Literaturforschung, 21(1), 89-105.

Book chapters

Kaposi, D. & Richardson, J. (forthcoming, 2015). Racism, politics and discourse. In Wodak, R. & Forchtner, B. (Eds). The Handbook of Language and Politics. London: Routledge.

Kaposi, D. (forthcoming, 2015). Violence and understanding: The British broadsheets’ coverage of the first Gaza war. In Kovács, A. & Miller, M. (Eds). The Yearbook of Jewish Studies. Budapest: Central European University Press.

Kaposi, D. (2014). The unbearable lightness of identity: membership, tradition and the Jewish anti-Semite in Gershom Scholem’s letter to Hannah Arendt. In Richardson, J.E., Krzy?anowski, M., Machin, D. & Wodak, R. (eds). Advances in Critical Discourse Studies pp. 36-48). London: Routledge.

Kaposi, D. (2006/2007). From Ahabath to Love – Questions of Identity, Tradition and Politics in the Arendt-Scholem Exchange. In Szabó, M. (ed). On Politics: Rhetoric, Discourse and Concepts (pp. 29-35). Budapest: Political Science Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Working Papers (9).

Kaposi, D. (2004). Narrativlosigkeit. Kulturelle Schemen und der Roman eines Schicksallosen. In Scheibner, T. & Szegedy-Maszák, M. (eds). Der Lange, Dunkle Schatten. Studien zum Werk von Imre Kertész (pp. 67-102). Wien: Kortina-Passagen Verlag.

I have also held invited public lectures or research seminars at the Central European University (Jewish Studies Programme), Cambridge University (Centre of Islamic Studies), Newcastle University (Critical Discourse Group), University of Hamburg (Media Research Group), Lancaster University (LIP).

Teaching interests

Research methods

Critical Social Psychology

Psychotherapy and counselling



The Breakdown of Discourse: Post-Holocaust Jewish Identity and the Scholem-Arendt Exchange (2017-11)
Kaposi, David
European Journal of Jewish Studies ((Early access))
The resistance experiments: Morality, authority and obedience in Stanley Milgram's account (2017-04-06)
Kaposi, Dávid
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour ((Early Access))
A proper study of the discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Methodological implications of a large-scale study of the first Gaza war (2017)
Kaposi, David
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 44(3) (pp. 391-407)
On the possibility of critiquing Israel: The Times’ engagement with Israel’s deployment of white phosphorous during the first Gaza war (2016)
Kaposi, Dávid
Media, War & Conflict, 9(3) (pp. 272-289)
Violence and Understanding in Gaza: The British Broadsheets' Coverage of the War (2014)
Kaposi, Dávid
ISBN : 978-1-137-43949-9 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan

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