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Professor Margaret Wetherell

Profile summary

Professional biography

I held a Chair in Social Psychology at The Open University until I retired in 2011. I now combine an Emeritus Professor position with a half-time Chair in the Psychology Department at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Over the 23 years I worked at the OU, my research focused on developing discourse theory and methods for social research and on the study of identity including investigations of ethnic and national identities, citizen identities, and the social psychology of masculinities. From 2003-2008, I directed the Identities and Social Action Programme for the UK Economic and Social Research Council and this was followed by the award of an ESRC Director’s fellowship in 2009/2010.

Research interests

My current research concerns discursive and affective practices. I am interested in patterns in people's embodied meaning-making and understanding the trajectories in their emotional responses and everyday activities. These patterns are closely implicated in the development of subjectivity and identity, and strongly connected with social relations, broader cultural formations and collective sense-making. My current theoretical work explores how best to theorize and investigate affective meaning-making, and this topic is the subject of my most recent book Affect and Emotion: A New Social Science Understanding published by Sage.

My work in the 1980s (with Jonathan Potter and other colleagues) established the field of discourse analysis in social psychology and in social research more widely. I have published many articles and books in this area, but our 1987 volume Discourse and Social Psychology is probably the best known and has been very widely cited. My books and articles have been translated into a number of languages including Spanish, Greek, Chinese, German, Turkish and French. From 1999 to 2004 I was Chief Editor (with Stephen Reicher) of the British Journal of Social Psychology.

In 2003 I was appointed as the Director of the ESRC Programme on Identities and Social Action. This role which continued until 2009 involved managing and leading a £4million public investment in research on identity issues. The ISA Programme consisted of 25 research projects across UK universities and brought together over 90 researchers in social psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, geography, sociolinguistics, social policy and education. Three edited books gather together the fruits of this work (see Recent Publications) while The Sage Handbook of Identities I edited with Chandra Talpade Mohanty and published in 2010 presents a 27 chapter overview of the field of identity research, bringing together work on identities from across the globe.

Books

Wetherell, M. (2012) Affect and Emotion: A New Social Science Understanding. London Sage.

Wetherell, M. and Talpade Mohanty, C. (eds.) (2010) The Sage Handbook of Identities. London: Sage.

Wetherell, M. (ed.) (2009) Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wetherell, M. (ed.) (2009) Theorizing Identities and Social Action. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wetherell, M., Lafleche, M. and Berkeley, R. (eds.) (2007) Identity, Ethnic Diversity and Community Cohesion. London: Sage.

Davies C., Wetherell, M. and Barnett, E. (2006) Citizens at the Centre: Deliberative Participation in Healthcare Decisions. Bristol: Policy Press.

Van Den Berg, H., Wetherell, M. and Houtkoop, H. (eds.) (2003) Analyzing Racist Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Selected Recent Articles and Chapters

Wetherell, M. (2011) ‘Winds of Change: Some Challenges in Reconfiguring Social Psychology for the Future’. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50, 399-404.

Wetherell, M. (2011) ‘The Prejudice Problematic’. In J. Dixon and M. Levine (eds.) Beyond Prejudice: Extending the Social Psychology of Conflict, Inequality and Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Davies, C., Wetherell, M. and Barnett, E (2009) ‘A Citizens Council in the Making: Dilemmas for Citizens and their Hosts’. In P. Littlejohns and M. Rawlins (eds.) Patients, the Public and Priorities in Healthcare. Oxford: Radcliffe.

Wetherell, M. (2008) ‘Speaking to Power: Tony Blair, Complex Multicultures and Fragile White English Identities’. Critical Social Policy, 28 (3), 299-319.

Wetherell, M. (2008) ‘Subjectivity or Psycho-Discursive Practices: Investigating Complex Intersectional Identities’. Subjectivity, 22 (1), 73-81.

Wetherell, M. and Edley, J (2008) ‘Masculinity Manoeuvres: Critical Discourse Psychology and the Analysis of Identity Strategies’. In N. Coupland and A. Jaworski (eds.) The New Sociolinguistics Reader. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Edley, N. and Wetherell, M. (2008) ‘Discursive Psychology and the Study of Gender: A Contested Space.’ In L. Litosseliti, H. Saunston, K. Segall and J. Sunderland (eds.) Gender and Language: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wetherell, M. (2007) ‘A Step Too Far: Discursive Psychology, Linguistic Ethnography and Questions of Identity’. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 11 (5), 661-682.

Reynolds, J., Wetherell, M. and Taylor, S. J. (2007) ‘Choice and Chance: Negotiating Agency in Narratives of Singleness’. The Sociological Review, 55 (2), 331-352.

Wetherell, M. (2006) ‘Formulating Selves: Social Psychology and the Study of Identity’. Social Psychological Review, 8 (2), 62-73.

Seymour-Smith, S. and Wetherell, M. (2006) '"What He Hasn't Told You …": Investigating the Micro Politics of Gendered Support in Couples Co-Constructed Accounts of Illness. Feminism and Psychology, 16 (1), 105-127.

Wetherell, M. (2005) ‘Unconscious Conflict or Everyday Accountability?’. British Journal of Social Psychology, 44 (2), 169-175.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Teaching interests

I worked on a large number of OU Psychology courses and several generations of Social Sciences Foundation Courses. My main focus, however, was on producing and presenting third level social psychology courses such as D307 and D317, and on chairing and producing Masters courses such as D843 Discourse Analysis.

Publications

Subjectivity or psycho-discursive practices? Investigating complex intersectional identities (2008-05)
Wetherell, Margaret
Subjectivity, 22(1) (pp. 73-81)


Speaking to power: Tony Blair, complex multicultures and fragile white English identities (2008)
Wetherell, Margaret
Critical Social Policy, 28(3) (pp. 299-319)


A step too far: Discursive psychology, linguistic ethnography and questions of identity (2007-11)
Wetherell, Margaret
Journal of Sociolinguistics, 11(5) (pp. 661-681)


Choice and chance: negotiating agency in narratives of singleness (2007)
Reynolds, Jill; Wetherell, Margie and Taylor, Stephanie
Sociological Review, 55(2) (pp. 331-351)


'What he hasn't told you...': Investigating the micro-politics of gendered support in heterosexual couples' co-constructed accounts of illness (2006)
Seymour-Smith, Sarah and Wetherell, Margaret
Feminism & Psychology, 16(1) (pp. 105-127)


Unconscious conflict or everyday accountability? (2005-06)
Wetherell, Margaret
British Journal of Social Psychology, 44(2) (pp. 169-175)


On discourse and dirty nappies: gender, the division of household labour and the social psychology of distributive justice (2004-04)
Dixon, John and Wetherell, Margaret
Theory and Psychology, 14(2) (pp. 167-189)


The discursive climate of singleness: the consequences for women's negotiation of a single identity (2003-12-01)
Reynolds, Jill and Wetherell, Margaret
Feminism & Psychology, 13(4) (pp. 489-510)


'My wife ordered me to come!': A discursive analysis of doctors' and nurses' accounts of men's use of general practitioners (2002-05)
Seymour-Smith, Sarah; Wetherell, Margaret and Phoenix, Ann
Journal of Health Psychology, 7(3) (pp. 253-267)


Jekyll and Hyde: men's constructions of Feminism and Feminists (2001-11-01)
Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret
Feminism & Psychology, 11(4) (pp. 439-457)


Negotiating hegemonic masculinity: Imaginary positions and psycho-discursive practices (1999-08)
Wetherell, Margaret and Edley, Nigel
Feminism & Psychology, 9(3) (pp. 335-356)


Imagined futures: Young men's talk about fatherhood and domestic life (1999-06)
Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret
British Journal of Social Psychology, 38(2) (pp. 181-194)


Beyond Binaries (1999-06)
Wetherell, Margaret
Theory and Psychology, 9(3) (pp. 399-406)


A suitable time and place: Speakers' use of 'time' to do discursive work in narratives of nation and personal life (1999-03)
Taylor, Stephanie and Wetherell, Margaret
Time and Society, 8(1) (pp. 39-58)


Show Concessions (1999-02)
Antaki, Charles and Wetherell, Margaret
Discourse Studies, 1(1) (pp. 7-27)


Positioning and interpretative repertoires: Conversation analysis and post-structuralism in dialogue (1998-07)
Wetherell, Margaret
Discourse and Society, 9(3) (pp. 387-412)


Discourse and Social Psychology - Silencing Binaries (1998-06)
Wetherell, Margaret and Potter, Jonathan
Theory and Psychology, 8(3) (pp. 377-388)


Jockeying for position: The construction of masculine identities (1997-04)
Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret
Discourse and Society, 8(2) (pp. 203-217)


Natural Order: why social psychologists should study (a constructed version of) natural language and why they have not done so (1995-03)
Potter, Jonathan and Wetherell, Margaret
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 14(1-2) (pp. 216-222)


Culture and multiculturalism: Ideological practice and the role of the academy (1995)
Wetherell, Margaret and Potter, Jonathan
Identities: global studies in culture and power, 1(4) (pp. 409-414)


Doing national construction work: discourses of national identity (1995)
Taylor, Stephanie and Wetherell, Margaret
Sites: A Journal for South Pacific Cultural Studies, 30(Autumn) (pp. 69-84)


The knots of power and negotiation, blank and complex subjectivities (1994-10)
Wetherell, Margaret
Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 4(4) (pp. 305-308)


A model of discourse action (1993-01)
Potter, Jonathan; Edwards, Derek and Wetherell, Margaret
American Behavioral Scientist, 36(3) (pp. 383-401)


On the literary solution: A response to Gardner (1992-07)
Potter, Jonathan and Wetherell, Margaret
New Ideas in Psychology, 10(2) (pp. 223-227)


Feminist psychology and the study of men and masculinity: Part Two: Policies and practices (1992-06)
Griffin, Christine and Wetherell, Margaret
Feminism & Psychology, 2(2) (pp. 133-168)


Group polarization as conformity to the prototypical group member (1992-03)
McGarty, Craig; Turner, John C.; Hogg, Michael A.; Davidson, Barbara and Wetherell, Margaret
British Journal of Social Psychology, 31(1) (pp. 1-21)


Feminist psychology and the study of men and masculinity: Part One: Assumptions and perspectives (1991-10)
Wetherell, Margaret and Griffin, Christine
Feminism & Psychology, 1(3) (pp. 361-393)


Quantification rhetoric - cancer on television (1991-07)
Potter, Jonathan; Wetherell, Margaret and Chitty, Andrew
Discourse and Society, 2(3) (pp. 333-365)


Self-categorization and the nature of norm formation, conformity, and group polarization (1990-06)
Abrams, Dominic; Wetherell, Margaret; Cochrane, Sandra; Hogg, Michael A. and Turner, John
British Journal of Social Psychology, 29(2) (pp. 97-121)


Discourse: noun, verb or social practice? (1990)
Potter, Jonathan; Wetherell, Margaret; Gill, Ros and Edwards, Derek
Philosophical Psychology, 3(2 & 3) (pp. 205-217)


Referent informational influence and group polarization (1989-06)
Turner, John C.; Wetherell, Margaret S. and Hogg, Michael A.
British Journal of Social Psychology, 28(2) (pp. 135-147)


Fragmented ideologies: Accounts of educational failure and positive discrimination (1989)
Potter, Jonathan and Wetherell, Margaret
Text - Interdiciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, 9(2) (pp. 175-190)


Accomplishing attitudes: Fact and evaluation in racist discourse (1988)
Potter, Jonathan and Wetherell, Margaret
Text - Interdiciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, 8(1-2) (pp. 51-68)


Unequal egalitarians: a preliminary study of discourses concerning gender and employment opportunities (1987)
Wetherell, Margaret; Stiven, Hilda and Potter, Jonathan
British Journal of Social Psychology, 26 (pp. 59-71)


Citizens at the centre: deliberative participation in healthcare decisions (2006-10)
Davies, Celia; Wetherell, Margie and Barnett, Elizabeth
ISBN : 1861348029 | Publisher : Policy Press | Published : Bristol, UK


Men in Perspective (1995-08-25)
Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret
ISBN : 9780134332697 | Publisher : Pearson Education Limited | Published : London, U.K. and New York, NY, U.S.


Mapping the Language of Racism: Discourse and the Legitimation of Exploitation (1992)
Wetherell, Margaret and Potter, Johathan
ISBN : 9780745010205 | Publisher : Harvester Wheatsheaf and Columbia University Press | Published : London and New York


Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour (1987)
Potter, Jonathan and Wetherell, Margaret
ISBN : 9780803980563 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, U.K.


Social Texts and Context: Literature and Social Psychology (1984)
Potter, Jonathan; Stringer, Peter and Wetherell, Margaret
ISBN : 9780710095534 | Publisher : Routledge and Kegan Paul | Published : London


The field of identity studies (2010)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Wetherell, Margaret and Talpade Mohanty, Chandra eds. The Sage Handbook of Identities (pp. 1-27)
ISBN : 978-1-4129-3411-4 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London


A citizens council in the making: dilemmas for citizens and their hosts (2009)
Davies, Celia; Wetherell, Margaret and Barnett, Elizabeth
In: Littlejohns, Peter and Rawlins, Michael eds. Patients, the Public and Priorities in Healthcare (pp. 129-138)
ISBN : 9781846193873 | Publisher : Radcliffe | Published : Oxford


The identity/action relation (2009)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Wetherell, Margaret ed. Theorizing Identities and Social Action. Identity Studies in the Social Sciences (pp. 1-19)
ISBN : 9780230580886 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke


Negotiating liveable lives: intelligibility and identity in contemporary Britain (2009)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Wetherell, Margaret ed. Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times. Identity Studies in the Social Sciences (pp. 1-21)
ISBN : 9780230580879 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke


Masculinity manoeuvres: critical discourse psychology and the analysis of identity strategies (2009)
Wetherell, Margaret and Edley, Nigel
In: Coupland, Nikolas and Jaworski, Adam eds. The New Sociolinguistics Reader (pp. 201-214)
ISBN : 9781403944146 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke


'A suitable time and place: speakers' use of 'time' to do discursive work in narratives of nation and personal life (2009)
Taylor, Stephanie and Wetherell, Margaret
In: Harrison, Barbara ed. Life Story Research. SAGE Benchmarks in Social Research Methods
ISBN : 9781412935883 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London


Discursive psychology and the study of gender: a contested space (2008-07-10)
Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret
In: Harrington, Kate; Litosseliti, Lia; Saunston, Helen and Sunderland, Jane eds. Gender and Language Research Methodologies (pp. 161-173)
ISBN : 9780230550681 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK


A suitable time and place: speakers’ use of ‘time’ to do discursive work in narratives of nation and personal life (2008)
Taylor, Stephanie and Wetherell, Margaret
In: Harrison, Barbara ed. Life Story Research. Sage Benchmarks in Research Methods Series
ISBN : 978-1412935883 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London


Community cohesion and identity dynamics: dilemmas and challenges (2007)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Wetherell, Margaret; Lafleche, Michelynn and Berkeley, Robert eds. Identity, Ethnic Diversity and Community Cohesion (pp. 1-14)
ISBN : 9781412946162 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London


Interpretative repertoires (2005)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Jupp, Victor ed. The Sage Dictionary of Social Research Methods (pp. 153-155)
ISBN : 9780761962977 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London, U.K.


Paranoia, ambivalence and discursive practices: Concepts of position and positioning in psychoanalysis and discursive psychology (2003-11-30)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Harre, Rom and Modhaddam, Fathali eds. The Self and others: positioning individuals and groups in personal, political and cultural contexts (pp. 99-120)
ISBN : 275976246 | Publisher : Praeger Publishers | Published : New York, NY, USA


Unfolding discourse analysis (2003-11-13)
Potter, Jonathan and Wetherell, Margaret
In: Seale, C. ed. Social Research Methods: A Reader. Routledge Student Readers (pp. 350-356)
ISBN : 9780415300834 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, U.K. and New York, NY, U.S.


Racism and the analysis of cultural resources in interviews (2003)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Van den Berg, Harry; Wetherell, Margaret and Houtkoop-Steenstra, Hanneke eds. Analyzing Race Talk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Research
ISBN : 9780521821186 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge, UK


Gender practices: Steps in the analysis of men and masculinities (1998)
Wetherell, Margaret and Edley, Nigel
In: Henwood, K; Griffin, C and Phoenix, A eds. Standpoints and Differences: Essays in the Practice of Feminist Psychology. Gender and Psychology (pp. 156-173)
ISBN : 9780761954446 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, U.K.


Linguistic repertoires and literary criticism: New directions for a social psychology of gender (1996-12)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Gergen, Mary and Davis, Sara eds. Toward a New Psychology of Gender: A Reader (pp. 149-170)
ISBN : 9780415913089 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, U.K. and New York, NY U.S.


Masculinity, power and identity (1996-03)
Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret
In: Mac an Ghaill, Martin ed. Understanding Masculinities: social relations and cultural arenas (pp. 97-113)
ISBN : 9780335194605 | Publisher : Open University Press | Published : Buckingham, U.K. and Philadelphia, PA U.S.


The distributed self: A social construcionist perspective (1996)
Wetherell, Margaret and Maybin, Janet
In: Stevens, Richard ed. Understanding the Self (pp. 219-280)
ISBN : 0-7619-5039-7 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London


Constructing identities: the individual/social binary in Henri Tajfel’s social psychology (1996)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Robinson, Peter W. ed. Social Groups and Identities: Developing the Legacy of Henri Tajfel. Social Psychology Series (pp. 269-284)
ISBN : 9780750630832 | Publisher : Butterworth-Heinemann | Published : Oxford, U.K.


Fear of Fat: interpretative repertoires and ideological dilemmas (1996)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Maybin, Janet and Mercer, Neil eds. Using English: From Conversation to Canon. The English Language Series (pp. 36-41)
ISBN : 9780415131193 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, U.K. and New York, NY, U.S.


Public definitions and private lives (1995)
Wetherell, Margaret
In: Muncie, John; Wetherell, Margaret; Langan, Mary; Dallos, Rudi and Cochrane, Allan eds. Understanding the Family
ISBN : 9780803979543 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, U.K.


Discourse analysis (1995)
Potter, Jonathan and Wetherell, Margaret
In: Smith, Jonathan; Harre, Rom and Van Langenove, Luk eds. Rethinking Methods in Psychology. Research and Practice (2) (pp. 80-92)
ISBN : 9780803977334 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, U.K.


The SAGE Handbook of Identities (2010-03)
Wetherell, Margaret and Mohanty, Chandra Talpade eds.
ISBN : 9781412934114 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London, UK


Theorizing Identities and Social Action (2009-10-22)
Wetherell, Margaret ed.
Identity Studies in the Social Sciences
ISBN : 9780230580886 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, England


Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times (2009)
Wetherell, Margaret ed.
Identity Studies in the Social Sciences
ISBN : 9780230580879 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke


Identity, ethnic diversity and community cohesion (2007-06)
Wetherell, Margaret; Lafleche, Michelynn and Berkeley, Robert eds.
ISBN : 978 1 4129 4616 2 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, UK


Analyzing race talk: multidisciplinary perspectives on the research interview (2004-01)
van den Berg, Harry; Wetherell, Margaret and Houtkoop-Steenstra, Hanneke eds.
ISBN : 521821185 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge, UK


Discourse Theory and Practice: A Reader (2001)
Wetherell, Margaret; Taylor, Stephanie and Yates, Simeon J. eds.
ISBN : 9780761971559 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London


Discourse as Data: A Guide to Analysis (2001)
Wetherell, Margaret; Taylor, Stephanie and Yates, Simeon eds.
ISBN : 9780761971573 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, U.K.


Doing Social Psychology (1999)
Miell, Dorothy and Wetherell, Margaret eds.
ISBN : 9780761960492 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London


Theory and Social Psychology (1998)
Sapsford, Roger; Still, Arthur; Wetherell, Margaret; Miell, Dorothy and Stevens, Richard eds.
ISBN : 9780761958383 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, U.K.


Identities, Groups and Social Issues (1996)
Wetherell, Margaret ed.
ISBN : 9780761950370 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : London, U.K.