Discourse Analysis Is An Excellent Tool For Studying Political Ideas, But Is Otherwise Of Limited Use. Illustrate With Reference To At Least Three Political Issues At A Domestic And/Or International Level.

2842 WordsApr 1, 200912 Pages
‘Discourse Analysis is an Excellent Tool for Studying Political Ideas, but is Otherwise of Limited Use.’ Illustrate With Reference to at Least Three Political Issues at a Domestic and/or International Level. Discourse analysis is a complex technique by which to conduct the study of political ideas and concepts. In order to analyse worth of discourse theory and analysis, I shall first explain the philosophical roots of the theory and explore the way in which the world of politics is analysed discursively. Defining ‘discourse’ is somewhat of an arduous task. The aforementioned complexity of the idea and the facets of thought within discourse theory create clashes of opinion between scholars. Certainly, communication through language and signification is an important element of discourse. Fairclough animates, that from a language perspective, “different representations/visions of the world are different discourses” (Fairclough, 2000,p. 21) Discourse analysis is hermeneutical, lending its concern to understanding and interpreting meanings produced socially rather than by those of natural laws. Howarth’s definition of discourse theory in politics is one that would be generally agreed on: that which is concerned with the role of meaningful social practices and ideas in political life (Howarth, 1995). The role of the discourse analyst is to identify discourses and traditions and to attempt to understand and explain ‘the meanings that they attach to social phenomena’ (Marsh & Furlong in Marsh & Stoker, 2005). Discourse theory is of the philosophical cloth of interpretivism and, as Howarth illuminates, “rejects the essentialist, reductionist, totalising, and deterministic explanations offered by many research programs, whether of Marxist, rational choice or structural functionalist persuasion” (Howarth in Scarborough & Tanenbaum, 1998,p. 282). The positivist approach

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