Adaptation and Context
Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Anders Örtenblad
Chapter 4: Putting panaceas into practice . . . or not: translating discourse into social practice in complex and contested terrains
This chapter presents a discourse-based framework for the analysis of panaceas as a mode of changing social practices within a context. The framework is based on a Critical Discourse Analysis approach, which draws on Harvey’s dialectical conceptualization of moments of social practice, coupled with a discursive view of antagonism and hegemony, taken from Laclau and Mouffe. The chapter outlines the basis of the framework and then applies it to two aspects of the panaceas discourse: ‘best practice’ and the problem of discourse being translated into other moments of social practice. Best practice is presented as a temporary crystallization of discourse that favors particular interests, which is used to attempt to shape organizational practices in material terms, but also is terms of other moments of social practice such as values, emotions and political relations. Translating such notions into the planned changes is shown to be problematic, as the discourse is shaped by prevailing conditions of social practice.
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