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Encyclopedia > Discourse

Discourse is a term used in semantics as in discourse analysis, but it also refers to a social conception of discourse, often linked with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Jürgen Habermas' The Theory of Communicative Action (1985). Each thinker had personal conceptions of discourse which are thought to be incompatible with the other. They remain two important figures in this field; Habermas trying to find the transcendent rules upon which speakers could agree on a groundworks consensus, while Foucault was developing a battle-type of discourse which opposed the classic marxist definition of ideology as part of the superstructure. In the main, semantics (from the Greek and in greek letters σημαντικός or in latin letters semantikós, or significant meaning, derived from sema, sign) is the study of meaning, in some sense of that term. ... Discourse analysis is a number of approaches to analysing language use above the sentence or clause level. ... Michel Foucault (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher who held a chair at the Collège de France, which he gave the title The History of Systems of Thought. ... Jürgen Habermas Jürgen Habermas (born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf) is a German philosopher, political scientist and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory, best known for his concept of the public sphere. ... 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... In philosophy, transcendental/transcendence, has three different but related primary meanings, all of them derived from the words literal meaning (from Latin), of climbing or going beyond: one that originated in Ancient philosophy, one in Medieval philosophy and one in modern philosophy. ... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... // Sociological concept In social sciences, superstructure is the set of socio-psychological feedback loops that maintain a coherent and meaningful structure in a given society, or part thereof. ...

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Discourse analysis

In semantics, discourses are linguistic units composed of several sentences — in other words, conversations, arguments or speeches. The study of discourses, or of language used by members of a language community, is known as discourse analysis. It looks at both language form and function, and includes the study of both spoken/signed interaction and written texts. It is a cross-disciplinary field, originally developing from sociolinguistics, anthropology, sociology and social psychology. In the main, semantics (from the Greek and in greek letters σημαντικός or in latin letters semantikós, or significant meaning, derived from sema, sign) is the study of meaning, in some sense of that term. ... For the movie from Francis Ford Coppola, see The Conversation. ... In logic, an argument is an attempt to demonstrate the truth of an assertion called a conclusion, based on the truth of a set of assertions called premises. ... Look up Speech in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Discourse analysis is a number of approaches to analysing language use above the sentence or clause level. ... Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used. ... Anthropology (from the Greek word , human or person) consists of the study of humanity (see genus Homo). ... Social interactions of people and their consequences are the subject of sociology studies. ... Social psychology is often conceived to be the study of how individuals perceive, influence, and relate to others. ...


The social conception of discourse

In the social sciences, a discourse is not considered to be an institutionalized way of thinking, a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic, or, as Judith Butler puts it, "the limits of acceptable speech" - or possible truth. Discourses are seen to affect our views on all things; and are not considered important to civilised society in other words, it is not possible to escape discourse. 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 delivers the vocabulary, expressions and perhaps also the style needed to communicate. Discourse is closely linked to different theories of power and state, at least as long as defining discourses is seen to mean defining reality itself. According to Foucault's definition, discourse must be heard rather as synonym of his concept of episteme, notwithstanding important theoretical displacements (episteme was first thought as the condition of possibility of discourses). In other words, Foucault's discourse must both be understood as a singular discourse, as defined above, and as a more general discourse, meaning the boundaries given to any particular discourse. In this more general sense, discourse is not composed only of words, which would be to limit oneself to a dualist conception: as he demonstrated in Discipline and Punish, discourse is also composed of architectural dispositifs, such as Jeremy Bentham's panopticon or the map of a classroom, etc. A dispositif is "a resolutely heterogeneous assemblage, containing discourses, institutions, architectural buildings [aménagements architecturaux], reglementary decisions, scientific statements, philosophical, moral, philanthropic propositions, in one word: said as well as non-said [du dit aussi bien que du non-dit], those are the dispositif's elements. The dispositif in itself is the network that we can establish between those elements." The social sciences are groups of academic disciplines that study the human aspects of the world. ... Image:J Butler. ... Common dictionary definitions of truth mention some form of accord with fact or reality. ... See: Léon Foucault (physicist) Foucault pendulum Michel Foucault (philosopher) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... As distinguished from techne, the Greek word episteme (literally: science) is often translated as knowledge. ... The term dualism is the state of being dual, or having a twofold division. ... Discipline and Punish (subtitled The Birth of the Prison) is a book written by the philosopher Michel Foucault. ... Jeremy Bentham (IPA: or ) (February 15, 1748 O.S. (February 26, 1748 N.S.) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ... Panopticon blueprint by Jeremy Bentham, 1791 The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. ...


According to Foucault, discourse can't be reduced to an ideological reflexion, it is to be thought as itself a Kampfplatz or battlefield. Against Kant's conception, Foucault argues that truth is not the objective bounty that the winners can take; truth is not an absolute, it is on the contrary produced in this battle with strategic aims. This conception of truth may be related to Althusser's theory on the "epistemological break" between science and ideology (the "epistemological break" is not an event, but a process; "science" always has to fight for its truth against ideology, which keeps coming back). Since knowledge and power are intrinsically related, according to Foucault, he can thus say that power relations are immanent to discourses, whereas in the classic marxist conception, the discourse is conceived as the ideological superstructure - which, of course, interacts with the base, as Marx wrote, but this does not impede the power relations being essentially located in the economic base, afterward reflected in the superstructure. Furthermore, as he showed in Society Must Be Defended (1976-77), discourse is not anyone's property and thus has no essentialist meaning. The same discourse may change political sides quite often, being reappropriated and endlessly modified, as did Foucault show in his analysis of the historical and political discourse; there is a "polymorphic tactics" of discourses. In other words, specific discourses are not tied to the subject; rather, the subject is a social construction of the discourse, or, as Nietzsche said, a "grammatical fiction". Judith Butler would maintain this ambivalency of discourse, which can be performed in various contexts by different subjectivities. An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... Absolute truth can be interpreted in different ways based on its usage, just like truth. ... Louis Althusser (October 19, 1918 _ October 23, 1990) was a Marxist philosopher. ... Immanence is a religious and philosophical concept. ... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... // Sociological concept In social sciences, superstructure is the set of socio-psychological feedback loops that maintain a coherent and meaningful structure in a given society, or part thereof. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Philosophy of History is an area of philosophy concerning the eventual significance, if any, of human history, and speculation as to a possible teleological end to its development. ... Subject (philosophy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... A social construction, social construct or social concept is an institutionalized entity or artifact in a social system invented or constructed by participants in a particular culture or society that exists solely because people agree to behave as if it exists, or agree to follow certain conventional rules. ... Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ...


Critical Discourse Analysis

Norman Fairclough's books, Language and Power (1989) and Critical Discourse Analysis (1995), are the origins of the term, which designs an interdisciplinary approach to the study of texts. It views "language as a form of social practice" and attempts "to unpack the ideological underpinnings of discourse that have become so naturalized over time that we begin to treat them as common, acceptable and natural features of discourse" (Peter Teo 2000). This analysis is founded on the idea that there is unequal access to linguistic and social resources, resources that are controlled institutionally. In terms of method, CDA can generally be described as hyper-linguistic or supra-linguistic, in that practitioners who use CDA consider the larger discourse context or the meaning that lies beyond the grammatical structure. This includes consideration of the political, and even the economic, context of language usage and production. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of texts, which views language as a form of social practice (Fairclough 1989: 20) and attempts to unpack the ideological underpinnings of discourse that have become so naturalized over time that we begin to treat them as common, acceptable... Norman Fairclough (1941 -) is emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Lancaster University. ...


This approach is explicitly influenced by Althusser, Foucault or Pierre Bourdieu's analysis, in order to examine ideologies and power relations involved in discourse. Fairclough notes in a foucaldian statement "that language connects with the social through being the primary domain of ideology, and through being both a site of, and a stake in, struggles for power" (1989: 15). Pierre Bourdieu (August 1, 1930 – January 23, 2002) was an acclaimed French sociologist whose work employed methods drawn from a wide range of disciplines, from philosophy and literary theory to sociology and anthropology. ...


Miscellaneous

In computational linguistics practice, a discourse may lightly refer to a cohesive piece of text, such as a newspaper article or a book paragraph. Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the statistical and logical modeling of natural language from a computational perspective. ...


See also

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Discourse
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  Results from FactBites:
 
Discourse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (621 words)
Discourse is a term used in semantics as in discourse analysis, but it also refers to a social conception of discourse, often linked with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Jürgen Habermas' The Theory of Communicative Action (1985).
The same discourse may change political sides quite often, being reappropriated and endlessly modified, as did Foucault show in his analysis of the historical and political discourse; there is a "polymorphic tactics" of discourses.
In other words, specific discourses are not tied to the subject; rather, the subject is a social construction of the discourse, or, as Nietzsche said, a "grammatical fiction".
fsendbuehler.silence.as.discourse (2642 words)
Discourse can be defined as: `To pass from premise to conclusion'; To hold discourse; to discuss a matter; To speak or write at length on some subject; to tell,narrate, or relate.
We can see that silence as a form of discourse is as difficult aconcept as intertextuality is for Nyquist; the boundaries of human speech are nearly endless, and so the boundaries of silence can also be appreciated as vast and unapproachable in their "undefined discursive space", a term Nyquist uses in reference to intertextuality.
Her discourse is fundamentally preoccupied with the fact there is something missing, yet she seems to miss that it is a Miltonic silence at every turn, in every passage, that speaks so as to prevent her own discourse from reaching a point of completed meaning, however speculative that meaning might be.
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