Positioning Theory and Discourse Analysis: Some Tools for Social Interaction Analysis
This article outlines positioning theory as a discursive analysis of interaction, focusing on the topic of conflict. Moreover, said theory is applied to a new work environment for the social sciences: virtual spaces. The analysis is organized in the following way. First, the major key psychosocial issues which define the topic of conflict are reviewed. Then, virtual environments are presented as a new work space for the social sciences. Thirdly, a synthesis of positioning theory and its FOUCAULTian legacy is conducted, while appreciating its particular appropriateness for analyzing conflictive interaction in virtual environments. An empiric case is then presented. This consists of an analysis of interactive sequences within a specific virtual environment: the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) Humanitats i Filologia Catalana studies forum. Through positioning theory, the production and effects that a conflictive interaction sequence has on the community in which it is produced are understood and explained.
positioning theory; socialization; conflict; social interaction; virtual environments