Positioning theory and discourse analysis: Some tools for social interaction analysis

Francisco Tirado, Ana Gálvez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


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 psycho-social 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-251
JournalHistorical Social Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Conflict
  • Positioning theory
  • Social interaction
  • Socialization
  • Virtual environments


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