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Reconsidering the concept of discourse for the field of critical geopolitics: towards discourse as language and practice


Müller, Martin (2008). Reconsidering the concept of discourse for the field of critical geopolitics: towards discourse as language and practice. Political Geography, 27(3):322-338.

Abstract

This paper seeks to advance the theoretical discussion on the concept of discourse in the field of critical geopolitics and address the growing dissatisfaction with its value as an instrument of social inquiry. It does so in a two-fold manner: first, it aims to contribute to conceptual clarity, particularly concerning the different applications of the concept of discourse in agency theory and poststructuralist critique, and second, by extending this initial groundwork, it urges a reconceptualization of the concept of discourse, which affords a broader view of the social. Drawing primarily on Michel Foucault’s methodological archaeology, I problematize the way the autonomy of the subject has been conceptualized in discourse and argue in favor of dissolving the self-identical subject into multiple subject positions. Deriving from this argument the need for a clearer distinction between narratives and discourses, I then follow the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe to conceptualize discourse not only as language, but also as language and practice. As I seek to demonstrate, this broader notion of discourse can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding and analysis of the discursive constitution of geopolitical identities, while retaining the critical edge that has become the hallmark of critical geopolitics.

Abstract

This paper seeks to advance the theoretical discussion on the concept of discourse in the field of critical geopolitics and address the growing dissatisfaction with its value as an instrument of social inquiry. It does so in a two-fold manner: first, it aims to contribute to conceptual clarity, particularly concerning the different applications of the concept of discourse in agency theory and poststructuralist critique, and second, by extending this initial groundwork, it urges a reconceptualization of the concept of discourse, which affords a broader view of the social. Drawing primarily on Michel Foucault’s methodological archaeology, I problematize the way the autonomy of the subject has been conceptualized in discourse and argue in favor of dissolving the self-identical subject into multiple subject positions. Deriving from this argument the need for a clearer distinction between narratives and discourses, I then follow the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe to conceptualize discourse not only as language, but also as language and practice. As I seek to demonstrate, this broader notion of discourse can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding and analysis of the discursive constitution of geopolitical identities, while retaining the critical edge that has become the hallmark of critical geopolitics.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:12 Nov 2013 14:25
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:50
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0962-6298
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2007.12.003
Related URLs:https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/Publikationen/55848

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