Collective Review: Developments in the Field of the Foucauldian Discourse Analysis

Rainer Diaz-Bone


This article reviews some new international releases in the field of discourse analysis in the tradition of Michel FOUCAULT. This kind of Foucauldian discourse analysis is related to other forms in the wider interdisciplinary field of discourse analysis. Nonetheless, it can be demonstrated that the Foucauldian form of discourse analysis is the most relevant one for contemporary analysis in the social sciences. It is argued that in the German social sciences the term "discourse analysis" is primarily used for theoretical social research or is used for empirical social research, without disclosing discourse-analytic methodology. Since the 1990s, the development of empirical methodologies for social discourse analysis in Germany has intensified. From it's beginning in the late 1960s, French methodology of discourse analysis has been empirically orientated. Here, the work of Michel PÊCHEUX is the central influence in which the epistemology of discourse analysis is thoroughly discussed and theorized. In France, PÊCHEUX continued the work of Michel FOUCAULT and, since then, one can speak of a Foucauldian tradition of discourse analysis, namely "French Discourse Analysis" (FDA). This review outlines the state-of- the-art of the transformation of Foucauldian discourse theory into a discourse-analytic methodology as a new kind of qualitative social research. For this reason, the influence and the analytic tools of linguistics are critically reviewed and a comparison of FDA in France and Foucauldian discourse analysis in Germany is undertaken. The first book reviewed is a British monograph from Glyn WILLIAMS that describes the development of French discourse analysis in the context of structuralism and poststructuralism. The book contains a thorough update of French discourse analysis and is path breaking for German readers of the discourse-analytic work of Michel PÊCHEUX. The volume comes on the heels of a new German handbook of social discourse analysis (edited by KELLER; HIRSELAND, SCHNEIDER & VIEHÖVER) that continues the thread with additional articles on theory and methodology, mostly in the field of (German) Foucauldian discourse analysis. This handbook presents a collection of articles by the most influential researchers in this field and it can be regarded as representing the state-of-the-art in the German field of discourse analysis. Next, a selection of several articles related to discourse theory from an interdisciplinary conference is reviewed. The content of these papers is mainly the social theory of discourse, not discourse analytic methodology. Following this, a new and clearly written French dictionary, edited by CHARAUDEAU and MAINGUENEAU, is reviewed. It is not only the first dictionary of the French vocabulary (mainly) of FDA, but also very useful for German social research on discourse. Finally, the latest release in this field is a new and very instructive introduction to the field of social research on discourse from KELLER. This book will be very useful not only for beginners—it contains a systematic overview of the research field and discusses strategies for further discourse-analytic research.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs030315


discourse analysis; structuralism; poststructuralism; Foucault; Pêcheux; automatic discourse analysis; epistemology; French discourse analysis; social discourse analysis; criticism of linguistics

Copyright (c) 2003 Rainer Diaz-Bone

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