Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David Robert Howarth
The last few years have brought a growing interest in the concept of discourse in political theory, as well as new forms of discourse analysis. As the term discourse suggests, discourse theory highlights the role of language—and more broadly the question of meaning—in politics. Yet, there are different ways to interpret and use the resources yielded by the so-called linguistic turn to understand and explain political processes. Some focus more narrowly on talk and text in context, whereas others deepen and extend the concept of discourse to include a wide range of social practices and political phenomena. Different approaches to discourse theory in contemporary political theory largely reflect the different starting points of the various theorists, coupled with the theoretical resources on which they draw. Three types of discourse analysis can thus be distinguished. A first set of political theorists draws on the work of J. L. Austin's speech act ...