Review Essay: A Discourse About Discourses of the Discoursive? Divergences and Possible Convergence of Contemporary Discourse and Governmentality Research from the Perspective of Alethurgic Discourse Analysis

Reinhard Messerschmidt


"Discourse Analysis Meets Governmentality Research," edited by Johannes ANGERMÜLLER and Silke VAN DYK, presents the contributions of the eponymous workshop held at the University of Jena in 2009. With this anthology, readers will gain substantiated insight into contemporary (discourse-) theoretical as well as methodological debates in the German-speaking social sciences. Floating boundaries and reciprocal influences of both research perspectives, which are specifically linked to different terms and work-phases coined by Michel FOUCAULT, form the main source of inspiration and are contrasted in the articles. These highlight how specifically contoured and distinctly distant from his original concepts the various derivational "toolboxes" are. The discussion of such differences constitutes the main strength of the book, which is as relevant to beginners as it is to practicing discourse researchers. Following an overview of the anthology's content, this review essay will reflect on the related debates from a perspective close to FOUCAULT's own work. His last lectures at the Collège de France will be used to develop an alternative synthetic perspective on the relations between discourse analysis and governmentality research. However, for such a perspective it is first necessary to reconstruct FOUCAULT's original terms, concepts, and epistemological interests.



Foucault; discourse analysis; discourse; dispositive; power; knowledge; subject; governmentality; governmentality research; alethurgic discourse analysis


Copyright (c) 2011 Reinhard Messerschmidt

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