The course targets Master’s students in Social Psychology and the Department of Social Research, as well as REMS students. In the event that registration exceeds capacity, Master's students in social psychology are given priority. Students enrolling in this course should have a basic understanding of social constructionism, discourse analysis or discursive social psychology, for example by having completed any course that covers such approaches. A basic understanding of critical discursive psychology or critical discourse analysis is especially helpful.
Bachelor’s level studies in social research
By the end of the course, students should be able to (1) explain the theoretical foundations and the methodological tools for analysing identities from the perspectives of critical discursive psychology, positioning theory and critical discourse analysis, as well as an interdisciplinary method for analysing social values in identification (2) apply the tools from each of those methodologies in practice textual analyses and interpretations, and (3) choose appropriate discursive methodologies for specific research materials and research questions dealing with analyses of identity, (4) conduct empirical analyses of discursive constructions of identity in relation to those materials and research questions.
The timing of the course depends on its content and teacher.
The course consists of teacher, peer and individually (self-) controlled learning activities. Learning will be facilitated through individual readings, short lectures in the face-to-face meetings, peer group discussions and analyses in the face-to-face meetings, individual analyses as homework, small group analyses and presentations, and final individual written papers. These learning activities are, more specifically, as follows:
Students will be required to read key literature before each face-to-face meeting. From the readings the students will learn the basic principles of the methodologies to be discussed and practiced in the upcoming class meetings. These basic principles will also be outlined in the short lectures. The instructor will also give a brief demonstration of the methodology in a sample textual analysis.
In each face-to-face meeting students will be working in groups, discussing the methodology that is being dealt with during that particular week, as well as applying the methodology in practice analyses of texts that will be provided by the instructor. The groups will then present their preliminary discussions, analyses and interpretations to the larger group. We will have a larger group discussions of the textual analyses based on these small group presentations.
After each face-to-face meeting, students will then repeat the exercise individually. In a short written paper format (~2 pages), they will briefly discuss the main principles and tools of the particular methodology as well as redo, revise and refine their textual analyses and interpretations of the same texts that they worked on in groups in the classroom. Students will hand in their discussions, analyses and interpretations through an online platform (Moodle).
The last two meetings consist of student presentations. For the presentation, a topic (e.g. analysing discursive constructions of identity in male adolescents’ talk about masculinity) and a methodology learned in the course (e.g. critical discourse analytical tools for analysing identification) will be chosen. Students will also choose one or two short textual examples to analyse that relate to their topic, and that are appropriate for analysis with the given methodology. Students will then conduct analyses on their chosen texts using their chosen methodology, and prepare a short presentation. In the presentations, students are expected to explicate the tools they are using in their analyses as well as present and explain their analyses and interpretations to the class.
Lastly, students will write individual final papers, which can be a further elaboration of their presentations. In the paper students will explicate their chosen methodology, research topic and the source of the materials to be analysed, conduct detailed analyses and interpretations, and reflect upon and evaluate the suitability of their chosen methodology to their chosen topics and texts. In order to give students ample time, the final paper will be due one month after the final course meeting.
The course consists of seven face-to-face meetings as well as independent work. The first six course meetings are on Wednesdays from 13:15 – 15:45 during the period 13.9-18.10. The final meeting is on Thursday, 19.10 from 14:15 – 16:45. The first five meetings (13.9-11.10) are devoted to learning the chosen methodologies together, as a group. The last two meetings (18.10 & 19.10) are reserved for student presentations.
The complete course schedule is as follows:
Sept. 13 – Introduction
Sept. 20 – Positioning theory and identification
Sept. 27 – Critical discursive psychology and identification – guest instructor, Satu Venäläinen
Oct. 4 – Social values in identification
Oct. 11 – Critical discourse analysis and identification – guest instructor, Jukka Törrönen
Oct. 18 – student presentations
Oct. 19 – student presentations
Students will be required to read some key literature before each face-to-face meeting.
As part of their course work, students will conduct individual textual analyses using the methods explicated in the readings and lectures.
In the face-to-face meetings, part of the time will be designated to lectures, and part of the time will be designated to group discussions, analyses and presentations.
Students will be required to give a final presentation and write a final paper. In both of these assignments, students will explicate and use one of the methodologies learned in the course.
Because of the small number of meetings, students are advised not to miss any of the sessions. However, students can miss one of the lectures and still successfully complete the course. Any additional absences need to be negotiated with the instructor. Students need to complete the assignments even if they are absent during a face-to-face meeting.
The course literature will be announced during teaching.
Graded on a scale of 0 to 5 (0 = fail, 1 = pass, 2 = satisfactory, 3 = good, 4 = very good, 5 = excellent)
The language of instruction is English.
The course will be implemented as contact teaching (lecture or practical course or a combination of both).