Foucault's Theory Of Discourse Analysis

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Based on Stuart Hall’s (2006) discussion of Foucault’s theory of discourse, a discourse is generally consisting of a group of statements that together offer a way of talking about a par-ticular knowledge on a certain topic. Many individuals can produce it together, in different institutional settings. The discourse thereby enables the construction of a topic in a specific way which at the same time limits other constructions of the same topic. A discourse is made up not only from one but a multiplicity of statements that all share the same style to talk about the same topic. However, it is not a closed off system, it draws statements from and into other discourses. A discourse in this understanding is not based on the classical distinction between thought and action, it “(…) is about the production of knowledge through language. But it is itself produced by a practice: “discursive practice” – the practice of producing meaning” (Hall, 2006:165). It follows that because all social practices involve meaning, all practices necessarily have a discursive side. A discourse is comparable to what sociologists would call an ‘ideology’. It is composed of statements and/or beliefs that shape knowledge in the interest of one particular group. But, according to Foucault (in: Hall, 2006) a discourse is more appro-priate because an ‘ideology’ claims ‘truth’, which in turn can be falsified. But the social, po-litical and moral world seldom allows the formulation of ‘entirely’ true or

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