Advanced Methods: Discourse Analysis
This course aims to introduce the students to social science discourse analysis, i.e. to a family of approaches that emphasise the constructed nature of politics and the importance of struggles over interpretive and definitory hegemony for political processes and for the definition of political “realities”. The course starts with an introduction to interpretive social science, the broader research tradition in which discourse analysis can be located. We then continue with two sessions that discuss the nature of discourse and its social and political functions. The following sessions are devoted to some key themes in political discourse analysis, before we move on the actual analytical process. By the end of the course, the participants should have gained an understanding of the importance of language in politics and of discourse analysis as a conceptual and methodological approach. Through practical work in- and outside of the classroom, they should also have acquired a set of practical skills enabling them to use discourse analysis for their own purposes, and to find their way through the vast literature in discourse theory and analysis.
By the end of this course, the students should :
1. Understand the rationale, theoretical basis and key concepts of discourse analysis as used in social and political analysis, and its limitations;
2. Be able to apply a discourse analytical approach to an object of their choice, and to present their findings in an appropriate manner, in writing as well as orally;
3. Be able to critically assess discourse analytical work done by others