The New Handbook of Language and Social Psychology

The New Handbook of Language and Social Psychology

The New Handbook of Language and Social Psychology

The New Handbook of Language and Social Psychology


When originally published in 1993 the first edition of this book was widely acknowledged as a definitive text in the field. The New Handbook builds on this success to provide updated reviews of many of the important theoretical and practical areas in which progress has been achieved in the last decade. It has also been expanded to contain additional material on the integra ion of verbal and non-verbal features in communication,and how such systems work,especially in applied settings and social relationships.

With its strong reviews,the new Handbook of Language and Social Psychology provides rapid access to a social psychological perspective for linguists, anthropologists,sociologists, and other academics concerned with language.

- Completely updated edition of the definitive handbook on language and social
- Expanded range of topics covered.
- Provides state-of-the-art reviews of many of the important theoretical and practical areas in which progress has recently been achieved.


The Prologue to the original Handbook of Language and Social Psychology sought to capture the essential history of the study of the intersect of language and social psychology in somewhat less than two pages. That could not be done now, although the field remains almost universally neglected in standard social psychological texts. The propensity of the texts to ignore language and its use is somewhat akin to a zoologist writing about fish without mentioning the role of water. It is also still rare to find undergraduate or postgraduate courses with titles linking language and social psychology.

This continuing situation might be ascribed to a lack of evangelical zeal among its pioneers and present practitioners, but that would be a serious mistake. (Attribution theory work early noted a disposition for people to blame persons rather than situations.) In contrast, a situational attribution could immediately draw attention to the hazards of our concerns having a dual disciplinary base. A social psychologist who is to work on language use requires a serious familiarity with relevant branches of linguistics (see Table 1 in Chapter 1). Such courses are rarely available formally to budding social psychologists. Even the most seductive ways of introducing the linguistic concepts catalogued in Table 1 are rarely attractive to undergraduates anxious to rush into the study of any of the 31 succeeding chapters in this Handbook. In complementary fashion, although aspirant sociolinguists may well follow programs with co-requisites in anthropology, sociology and social psychology, these latter are unlikely to include systematic experience in the empirical methodologies utilized in these disciplines.

While any estimate of the numbers of colleagues working in the field can certainly be no more than a guestimate, around one thousand could be a figure of the right order of magnitude. Will this increase soon, and if so where? Personal ignorance precludes any detailed comment on the European situation beyond noting that there are centres in The Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia which promote such studies, and there is one in Wales: the Centre for Language and Communication at Cardiff University. England has Loughborough University, which specializes in a conversational, discursive and argumentational orientation.

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