Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management., Sociology, Media and socio-cultural communication, Social sciences, Interdisciplinary

Publication Details

O'Rourke, Brendan K. & Pitt, Martyn (2007). Using the Technology of the Confessional as an Analytical Resource: Four Analytical Stances Towards Research Interviews in Discourse Analysis [58 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 8(2), Art. 3,


Among the various approaches that have developed from FOUCAULT's work is an Anglophone discourse analysis that has attempted to combine FOUCAULTian insights with the techniques of Conversation Analysis. An important current methodological issue in this discourse analytical approach is its theoretical preference for "naturally occurring" rather than research interview data. A FOUCAULTian perspective on the interview as a research instrument, questions the idea of "naturally-occurring discourse". The "technology of the confessional" operates, not only within research interviews, but permeates other interactions as well. Drawing on FOUCAULT does not dismiss the problems of the interview as research instrument rather it shows they cannot be escaped by simply switching to more "natural" interactions. Combining these insights with recent developments within discourse analysis can provide analytical resources for, rather than barriers to, the discourse analysis of research interviews. To aid such an approach, we develop a four-way categorisation of analytical stances towards the research interview in discourse analysis. A demonstration of how a research interview might be subjected to a discourse analysis using elements of this approach is then provided.