The recent scandal and dismissal of John Terry as England team captain provides an interesting example of the psychological theory of discourse and subject positions (Edley, 2001; Holloway, 1984)). Put simply, discourses (all the utterances around a particular topic) both produce and subject people (also by themselves and others) to specific discursive positions. Therefore, the way people experience the world and themselves is in part a by-product of discourse. For example, when Terry took up the position of England captain, he will not have encountered the discourse of the England captaincy pre-formed. Instead he will have been re-constituted as the ‘subject’ of the England captain in the moment of its consumption. In more familiar terms, the moment that Terry became the England captain, he will have been discursively located with a particular identity (Hall, 1988). The identity of the England football team captain presumably carries with it certain attributes e.g. good team leader, sound role model, respectability, monogamy etc. The point I am making is that, the media allegations of his affair with Vanessa Perroncel located Terry in a ‘troubled subject position’ (Wetherell, 1998). That is, the allegations implied he occupied a subject position of a discourse other than that of the England team captain. Unfortunately for Terry, occupying a troubled subject has resulted in Fabio Capello replacing Terry as England team captain with Rio Ferdinand.
Grazie, Signor Capello: After days of dithering by the FA, it takes an Italian family man just 10 minutes to sack captain who shamed England
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Masculinities in Theory
Chapter 41: The Psychology of Men and Masculinity in The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Family Psychology
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