Positioning Theory and Discourse Analysis: Some Tools for Social Interaction Analysis


  • Francisco Tirado Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Ana Gálvez Universitat Oberta de Catalunya




positioning theory, socialization, conflict, social interaction, virtual environments


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. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0702317


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Author Biographies

Francisco Tirado, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Francisco TIRADO is a PhD in Social Psychology. He is a Lecturer in the Social Psychology Department of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He is a full member of the Group for Social Studies of Science and Technology (GESCIT).

Ana Gálvez, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Ana GÁLVEZ is a PhD in Social Psychology. She is a Lecturer in Social and Organizational Psychology in Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. She is a full member of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Virtual Communities (GIRCOM).




How to Cite

Tirado, F., & Gálvez, A. (2007). Positioning Theory and Discourse Analysis: Some Tools for Social Interaction Analysis. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-8.2.248