The primacy of discourse in the study of gender in family therapy
Sutherland, O., LaMarre, A., & Rice, C. (2017). The primacy of discourse in the study of gender in family therapy. Family Process, 56(3), 669-685. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12294
Family therapists and scholars increasingly adopt poststructural and postmodern conceptions of social reality, challenging the notion of stable, universal dynamics within family members and families and favoring a view of reality as produced through social interaction. In the study of gender and diversity, many envision differences as social constructed rather than as “residing” in people or groups. There is a growing interest in discourse or people's everyday use of language and how it may reflect and advance interests of dominant groups in a society. Despite this shift from structures to discourse, therapists struggle to locate the dynamics of power in concrete actions and interactions. By leaving undisturbed the social processes through which gendered and other subjectivities and relations of power are produced, therapists may inadvertently become complicit in the very dynamics of power they seek to undermine. In this article, we argue that discourse analysis can help family therapy scholars and practitioners clarify the link between language and power. We present published examples of discourse analytic studies of gender and sexism and examine the relevance of these ideas for family therapy practice and research.