Discourse Analysis Natalie Koch Geography 5161 March 2, 2009
Discourse analysis • Discourse • “a specific constellation of knowledge and practice through which a way of life is given material expression” (Doel 2003, 49) • Discourse analysis • “discloses how this constellation of knowledge and power is structured, and situates it within its appropriate social, cultural and geo-historical context” (Doel 2003, 49)
Postmodernism “incredulity toward metanarratives” reality and identities as chaotic, messy, multiple, plural emphasizes multiple interpretations of a text, its silences, incoherencies, limits, unintended effects
Origins Lyotard Derrida Foucault Latour
What is a text? Maps Guidebooks Films Television (Urban) landscapes Gov’t publications Acad. publications Museums Newspapers Photographs Textbooks Comic books Political cartoons Monuments Speeches ??
Discourse analysis tools Semiotics Textual deconstruction Content analysis Reading landscapes Iconology Hermeneutics
Strengths Weaknesses • Broad application • Challenging dominant discourses • Useful starting point for mixed-methods studies • Entry point for words/world debate • One-sided, selective, subjective • Quantification difficulties (content analysis) • Time-consuming (especially without software)
The reception question • Original theory vs. contemporary application • Discourses as inseparable from the context in which they are produced • Multiplicity of interpretations of texts – limitations of the researcher’s analysis • Analyst as the detached observer • Sharpe 2000 – critique of Ó Tuathail’sCritical Geopolitics – where does he stand?
Examples Dowler 2001 Dittmer 2005 Falah 2005 McDowell 2008 Megoran 2005 O’Loughlin, Ó Tuathail, Kolossov 2004
Dittmer 2005 The “clash of civilizations” imagination in Captain America: Terrorists seize control of the church in Centerville
Falah 2005 “The Visual Representation of Muslim/Arab Women in Daily Newspapers in the United States” • 2 media portrayals of Muslim women • passive victims • active political agents
O’Loughlin, Ó Tuathail, Kolossov 2004 “Russian geopolitical storylines and public opinion in the wake of 9-11” Storylines Putin’s “common enemy” storyline “Skeptical” storyline “American imperialism” storyline Attitudes of ordinary Russians - surveys