Tools and Resources
Project history
- - - - - - -
- - - - - - -
HOME arrow Glossary arrow Discourse
The concept of discoursivity is closely linked with the work of French post-structuralist Michel Foucault and his idea that language develops and generates meaning under specific material and historical conditions. Foucault explored how, through the operation of power in social practice, meanings are temporarily stabilized or regulated into a Discourse. Discourses operate as a form of language working through various institutional settings to lay down the grounds upon which we make sense of the world. Discourses are ways of referring to or constructing knowledge about particular topic of practice: a formation of ideas, images and practices, which provide ways of talking about, forms of knowledge and conduct associated with a particular topic, social activity or institutional site in society. These discursive formations define what is and is not appropriate in our formulation of, and our practices in relation to a particular subject or site of social activity. What knowledge is considered useful, relevant and »true« in that context; and what sorts of persons or »subjects« embody its characteristics. Discourses are associated with »regimes of truth«, working within fields such as science and government to authorize what can be judged as true or untrue. They can be analyzed at various levels, from their basic constituents, statements, to accumulated discursive formations, which provide the basis for the way in which people make sense of the world in certain times in certain places.

Foucault, M. (1972): Archeology of knowledge, New York
< Prev   Next >