Conference Report: Methodological Problems of Foucault-inspired Discourse Analysis in the Social Sciences. Workshop on "Applied Discourse Analysis

Jana Klemm, Georg Glasze


The "Workshop of Applied Discourse Analysis" was designed to foster an exchange of ideas between young researchers working in the field of discourse analysis and members of the "Arbeitskreis Diskursanalyse/Sektion Wissenssoziologie" of DGS. The exchange focused on the methodological problems that emerge in the context of discourse analysis. Different aspects of the research process from data collection to the presentation of discourse analytical investigations were discussed. The central topic of the workshop was FOUCAULT's concept of discourse analysis. With respect to this, the main issue addressed was the ongoing debate over the possibility of deriving a clear methodology for empirical discourse analysis investigations in the field of qualitative social science. One important point of the contributions and of the debates that took place in the workshop was the proposition of combining FOUCAULT's "interpretative analytics" with other established methods of sociological research, in particular with Grounded Theory. In addition to this general methodological focus, the contributions presented during the workshop provided interesting insights into the analytical power of discourse analytical tools in examining various types of data materials, ranging from isolated texts to images. Our survey focuses on the problems, possibilities, and obstacles involved in developing a rigorous research method of discourse analysis based on the work of FOUCAULT. In it we elaborate on the connection between the various contributions of the workshop and the broader debate concerning methodology in the field of discourse analysis. We show, among other things, that in retrospect, the workshop brings to light that certain methodological traces lead to different outcomes. There is, for instance, a significant difference between an approach in which subjects are conceptualized as actors and as producers of discourse and one in which subjects are conceptualized as outcomes of discursive construction.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0502246


discourse; discourse analysis; discourse formation; Foucault; image discourse analysis; text analysis; interpretative analytics; Grounded Theory

Copyright (c) 2005 Jana Klemm, Georg Glasze

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