Positioning Theory: Moral Dimensions of Social-Cultural Psychology

Rom Harré

in The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396430
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Positioning Theory: Moral Dimensions of Social-Cultural Psychology

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A fundamental way in which cultures differ is in the taken-for-granted systems of rights and duties implicit in the way lived storylines unfold in everyday social episodes. Positioning Theory developed as a method of analysis aimed at revealing the storylines and implicit (sometimes explicit) ascriptions and resistances to ascriptions of rights and duties to perform actions expressing social acts appropriate to the situations recognized by participants in a strip of life. Analysis reveals a mutual determining of the meanings of social actions as acts, lived storylines unfolding and local distributions of rights and duties so to act. The concept of “positioning” has taken on two main senses in these studies—as the attributes of a person or group relevant to positioning and, in the other sense, as an attribution of rights and duties. The extensive literature of positioning theory includes studies ranging over great differences of scale from the intrapositioning in which a person engages in private moral reflections through positioning issues between the members of a small group of people in intimate interaction, up to the positioning discourses of the protagonists of nation-states or religious communities.

Keywords: position; positioning; moral order; rights; duties; storylines; social representations

Article.  11916 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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