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discourse
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{{Other uses|Discourse (disambiguation)}}{{jargon|date=May 2018}}{{Sociology}}Discourse (from Latin discursus, "running to and from") denotes written and spoken communications:
  • In semantics and discourse analysis: Discourse is a conceptual generalization of conversation within each modality and context of communication.
  • The totality of codified language (vocabulary) used in a given field of intellectual enquiry and of social practice, such as legal discourse, medical discourse, religious discourse, et cetera.WEB, Marks, Larry, June 2001, revue-texto.net, 25 May 2011, A Little Glossary of Semantics,weblink
  • In the work of Michel Foucault, and that of the social theoreticians he inspired: discourse describes "an entity of sequences, of signs, in that they are enouncements (énoncés)", statements in conversation.BOOK, M. Foucault, 1969, The Archaeology of Knowledge, L'Archéologie du savoir, Paris, Éditions Gallimard, M. Foucault,
As discourse, an "enouncement" (statement) is not a unit of semiotic signs, but an abstract construct that allows the semiotic signs to assign meaning, and so communicate specific, repeatable communications to, between, and among objects, subjects, and statements. Therefore, a discourse is composed of semiotic sequences (relations among signs that communicate meaning) between and among objects, subjects, and statements.The term "discursive formation" () conceptually describes the regular communications (written and spoken) that produce such discourses, such as informal conversations. As a philosopher, Michel Foucault applied the discursive formation in the analyses of large bodies of knowledge, such as political economy and natural history.BOOK, M. Foucault, The Order of Things, 1970, 1966, Pantheon Books, Pantheon, 0-415-26737-4, M. Foucault, Compact Oxford Dictionary, Thesaurus and Wordpower Guide (2001). Oxford University Press, New York.In the first sense-usage (semantics and discourse analysis), the term discourse is studied in corpus linguistics, the study of language expressed in corpora (samples) of "real world" text. In the second sense (the codified language of a field of enquiry) and in the third sense (a statement, un énoncé), the analysis of a discourse examines and determines the connections among language and structure and agency.Moreover, because a discourse is a body of text meant to communicate specific data, information, and knowledge, there exist internal relations in the content of a given discourse; likewise, there exist external relations among discourses. As such, a discourse does not exist per se (in itself), but is related to other discourses, by way of inter-discursivity; therefore, in the course of intellectual enquiry, the discourse among researchers features the questions and answers of What is ...? and What is not. ..., conducted according to the meanings (denotation and connotation) of the concepts (statements) used in the given field of enquiry, such as anthropology, ethnography, and sociology; cultural studies and literary theory; the philosophy of science and feminism.

The humanities

In the humanities and in the social sciences, the term discourse describes a formal way of thinking that can be expressed through language; the discourse is a social boundary that defines what statements can be said about a topic.Discourse can affect the person's perspective; it is impossible to avoid discourse for any subject. For example, two notably distinct discourses can be used about various guerrilla movements describing them either as "freedom fighters" or "terrorists". In other words, the chosen discourse provides the vocabulary, expressions and perhaps also the style needed to communicate.Discourses are embedded in different rhetorical genres and metagenres that constrain and enable them. That is language talking about language, for instance the American Psychiatric Association's DSMIV manual tells which terms have to be used in talking about mental health, thereby mediating meanings and dictating practices of the professionals of psychology and psychiatry.Catherine F. Schryer and Philippa Spoel. Genre Theory, Health-Care Discourse, and Professional Identity Formation. Journal of Business and Technical Communication 2005. 19: 249 weblink is closely linked to different theories of power and state, at least as long as defining discourses is seen to mean defining reality itself. This conception of discourse is largely derived from the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault.

Formal semantics

A discourse representation theory describes the formal semantics of a sentence using predicate logic.Muskens, Reinhard. "Combining Montague semantics and discourse representation." Linguistics and philosophy 19.2 (1996): 143-186.

Modernism

Modern theorists were focused on achieving progress and believed in the existence of natural and social laws which could be used universally to develop knowledge and thus a better understanding of society.JOURNAL, J. Larrain, 1994, Ideology and cultural identity: Modernity and the third world presence, Cambridge, Polity Press, Modernist theorists were preoccupied with obtaining the truth and reality and sought to develop theories which contained certainty and predictability.BOOK, Steven Best & Douglas Kellner, 1997, The postmodern turn, The Guilford Press, 1-57230-221-6, Modernist theorists therefore viewed discourse as being relative to talking or way of talking and understood discourse to be functional.Strega, 2005 Discourse and language transformations are ascribed to progress or the need to develop new or more "accurate" words to describe new discoveries, understandings, or areas of interest. In modern times, language and discourse are dissociated from power and ideology and instead conceptualized as "natural" products of common sense usage or progress. Modernism further gave rise to the liberal discourses of rights, equality, freedom, and justice; however, this rhetoric masked substantive inequality and failed to account for differences, according to Regnier.Regnier, 2005

Structuralism

Structuralist theorists, such as Ferdinand de Saussure and Jacques Lacan, argue that all human actions and social formations are related to language and can be understood as systems of related elements.BOOK, D. Howarth, 2000, Discourse, Philadelphia, Pa., Open University Press, 0-335-20070-2, This means that the "…individual elements of a system only have significance when considered in relation to the structure as a whole, and that structures are to be understood as self-contained, self-regulated, and self-transforming entities." BOOK, D. Howarth, 2000, Discourse, Philadelphia, Pa., Open University Press, 0-335-20070-2
Discourse and Difference "University of New Hampshire Cosmology Seminar" weblink Course in General Linguistics>Saussure's theory of language highlights the decisive role of meaning and signification in structuring human life more generally.

Postmodernism

Following the perceived limitations of the modern era, emerged postmodern theory. Postmodern theorists rejected modernist claims that there was one theoretical approach that explained all aspects of society. Rather, postmodernist theorists were interested in examining the variety of experience of individuals and groups and emphasized differences over similarities and common experiences.In contrast to modern theory, postmodern theory is more fluid and allows for individual differences as it rejected the notion of social laws. Postmodern theorists shifted away from truth seeking and instead sought answers for how truths are produced and sustained. Postmodernists contended that truth and knowledge is plural, contextual, and historically produced through discourses. Postmodern researchers therefore embarked on analyzing discourses such as texts, language, policies and practices.French social theorist Michel Foucault developed a notion of discourse in his early work, especially the Archaeology of knowledge (1972). In Discursive Struggles Within Social Welfare: Restaging Teen Motherhood,JOURNAL, Lessa, Iara, Discursive struggles within social welfare: Restaging teen motherhood, The British Journal of Social Work, 36, 2, 283–298, Oxford University Press, Oxford Journals, 10.1093/bjsw/bch256, February 2006,weblink harv, ., Iara Lessa summarizes Foucault's definition of discourse as "systems of thoughts composed of ideas, attitudes, courses of action, beliefs and practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds of which they speak." Foucault traces the role of discourses in wider social processes of legitimating and power, emphasizing the construction of current truths, how they are maintained and what power relations they carry with them. Foucault later theorized that discourse is a medium through which power relations produce speaking subjects. Foucault (1977, 1980) argued that power and knowledge are inter-related and therefore every human relationship is a struggle and negotiation of power.Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977. M Foucault. Selected interviews and other writings 1972, 1977, 1980. Pantheon Foucault further stated that power is always present and can both produce and constrain the truth. Discourse according to Foucault (1977, 1980, 2003) is related to power as it operates by rules of exclusion. Discourse therefore is controlled by objects, what can be spoken of; ritual, where and how one may speak; and the privileged, who may speak.BOOK, M. Foucault, 1972, Archaeology of knowledge, New York
Pantheon Books>Pantheon, 0-415-28752-9, M. Foucault, Coining the phrases power-knowledge Foucault (1980) stated knowledge was both the creator of power and creation of power. An object becomes a "node within a network." In his work, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault uses the example of a book to illustrate a node within a network. A book is not made up of individual words on a page, each of which has meaning, but rather "is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences." The meaning of that book is connected to a larger, overarching web of knowledge and ideas to which it relates.One of the key discourses that Foucault identified as part of his critique of power-knowledge was that of neoliberalism, which he related very closely to his conceptualization of governmentality in his lectures on biopolitics.Foucault, M. (2008) The Birth Of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. This trajectory of Foucault's thinking has been taken up widely within Human Geography.

See also

Notes

{{Reflist}}

References

  • BOOK, M. Foucault, 1977, Discipline and Punish, New York
Pantheon Books>Pantheon, 0-394-49942-5, M. Foucault,
  • BOOK, M. Foucault, 1980, "Two Lectures," in Colin Gordon, ed., Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews, New York
Pantheon Books>Pantheon, M. Foucault,
  • BOOK, M. Foucault, 2003, Society Must Be Defended, New York
Picador (imprint)>Picador, 0-312-42266-0, M. Foucault,
  • BOOK
ALEC MCHOUL>A. MCHOUL & WENDY GRACE, W. Grace, 1993, A Foucault primer: Discourse, power, and the subject, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 0-8147-5480-5,
  • JOURNAL, J. Motion & S. Leitch, 2007, A toolbox for public relations: The oeuvre of Michel Foucault, Public Relations Review, 33, 3, 263–268, 10.1016/j.pubrev.2007.05.004
,
  • BOOK, R. Mullaly, 1997, Structural social work: Ideology, theory, and practice, 2nd, New York, Oxford University Press, 0-7710-6673-2, Robert Mullaly
,
  • Howard, H. (2017). Discourse 2 [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved fromweblink
  • JOURNAL, B. Norton, 1997, Language, identity, and the ownership of English, TESOL Quarterly, 31, 3, 409–429, 10.2307/3587831, 3587831, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL), Bonny Norton
,
  • Research as resistance: Critical, indigenous and anti-oppressive approaches.(2005). In Brown L. A., Strega S. (Eds.), Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press.
  • S. Strega (2005). The view from the poststructural margins: Epistemology and methodology reconsidered. In L. Brown, & S. Strega (Eds.), Research as resistance (pp. 199–235). Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press.
  • BOOK, J. Sunderland, 2004, Gendered discourses, New York, PalgraveMacmillan
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