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Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA) Willig (2008)

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Presentation on theme: "Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA) Willig (2008)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA) Willig (2008)

2 What is the focus of FDA? How language shapes experience FDA is concerned with language and its role in the constitution of social and psychological life. It argues that language constructs social reality which consequently constructs subjectivity.

3 What are discourses? Ways of constructing objects Discourses are “sets of statements that construct objects and an array of subject positions” (Parker, 1994) Discourses are “relatively coherent ways of talking about objects and events in the world” (Edley, 2001)

4 What are the assumptions of FDA? Discourses give people ways of “seeing” and “being” in the world Discourses make available to people certain ways of seeing the world and certain ways of being in the world. Discourses offer subject positions, which when taken up by people, have implications on subjectivity and experience.

5 What are the assumptions of FDA? Discourses shape subjectivity and experience From a Foucauldian point of view, discourses facilitate and limit, enable and constrain what can be said, by whom, where and when (Parker, 1992). FDA focuses on the availability of discourses and their implications to how people live.

6 What are the assumptions of FDA? Discourses are linked to institutions and social practices FDA asks questions about the relationship between discourse and how people think or feel (subjectivity), what they may do (social practices) and the material conditions within which such experiences may take place (institutional practices).

7 What are the assumptions of FDA? Discourses are linked to power FDA is concerned with the role of discourse in wider social processes of legitimation and power. Dominant discourses privilege those versions of social reality which legitimate existing power relations and social structures. Some are so entrenched that they have become “common sense”.

8 What are the assumptions of FDA? FDA can lead to social change through creating alternative or counter-discourses It is in the nature of language that alternative constructions are always possible and that counter-discourses can, and do, emerge.

9 What is the research question in FDA? How discourses construct subjects “What characterizes the discursive worlds participants live in and what are their implications for possible ways of being?” FDA focuses on the power of discourses to construct objects, position subjects, and shape what people can say, think, feel, and do.

10 Selecting Texts for Analysis Text that focus on the object of the research FDA can be carried out “wherever there is meaning” (Parker, 1999) The selection of suitable texts for analysis is informed by the research question.

11 Selecting Texts for Analysis Find the relevant text Which social object or phenomenon are you interested in? Whose constructions of the social object are you interested in? Where can you find these constructions?

12 Doing FDA: A Step-By-Step Guide 1. Discursive Constructions 2. Discourses 3. Action Orientation 4. Positionings 5. Practice 6. Subjectivity

13 Doing FDA: A Step-By-Step Guide Stage 1: discursive constructions How is the discursive object constructed in the text? Identify the different ways by which the discursive object is constructed in the text. That is, highlight all instances of reference to the discursive object.

14 Doing FDA: A Step-By-Step Guide Stage 2: discourses Focus on the differences between constructions. What appears to be one and the same discursive object can be constructed in very different ways. Locate the various discursive constructions within wider discourses or “ways of seeing the world”.

15 Doing FDA: A Step-By-Step Guide Stage 3: action orientation What is the function of constructing the object in a particular way within the text? When is a particular discourse used and what can be its purpose when it is used in the text? (What is the person “doing” in the talk?)

16 Doing FDA: A Step-By-Step Guide Stage 4: positionings What subject positions are made available in the discourses for persons to take up? How are different persons positioned in the text? What are the rights and duties ascribed to them?

17 Doing FDA: A Step-By-Step Guide Stage 5: practice What can people say and do given positions made available in discourses? What social practices can people do (and not do) when they are positioned in a particular way by the discourse?

18 Doing FDA: A Step-By-Step Guide Stage 6: subjectivity What can people think, feel, and experience given positions made available in discourses?

19 How do you know if you are doing it right? Follow your intuition “Analysis is not a matter of following rules or recipes; it often involves following hunches and the development of tentative interpretative schemes which may be abandoned or revised.”

20 How do you know if you are doing it right? Follow your data “The trick is… familiarity with one’s data… repeated reading…. Gradually, one comes to recognize patterns…a sure sign that one is getting a feel for the ‘discursive terrain’…”

21 Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA) Willig (2008) Qualitative Research


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