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Michael Farrelly

Analysis of how policy-makers and legislators represent social actors in texts can give valuable insight into their conceptualisation of objects of governance. Drawing on Van Leeuwen’s methodological work in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and the theoretical perspective of Cultural Political Economy (CPE), this chapter shows how to analyse the representation of social actors using the example of significant shifts toward ‘competition’ in UK policy on the governance of its gas industry. The chapter analyses the representation of social actors in the ‘texts’ of two parliamentary ‘second reading debates’ (in 1985 and 1995) and shows how current problems in the UK’s competitive energy markets are, effectively, prefigured in the way social actors had been represented in the conceptualisation of competition during these debates. The chapter concludes that analysis of the representation of social actors gives a powerful method for uncovering implicit conceptualisation of objects of governance.

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Michael Farrelly, Stephen Jeffares and Chris Skelcher

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Jane Mulderrig, Nicolina Montesano Montessori and Michael Farrelly

This chapter makes a case for the added value of integrating Critical Discourse Analysis with Critical Policy Studies, producing a theoretical and methodological synergy we term ‘Critical Policy Discourse Analysis’ (CPDA). It lays the groundwork for the highly practical and method-focused chapters which follow. The intellectual origins and key theoretical assumptions of Critical Policy Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis are reviewed in order to reveal the conceptual underpinnings and complementarities which lead us to propose this integrated approach to policy research. The chapter examines some of the key concerns of post-positivist approaches to policy research, and demonstrates how CPDA is ideally suited to address them. It offers definitions of core concepts like text, discourse and interdiscursivity, before outlining how the remaining empirical chapters fit into this CPDA approach.

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Michael Farrelly, Nicolina Montesano Montessori and Jane Mulderrig

This chapter reflects on the three aims of the volume: first, to show, conceptually, how an integration of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) with Critical Policy Studies (CPS) could enrich the analysis of policy discourse. Second, to set out, explicitly, the methodological steps taken in operationalising such an analysis, and, third, to reflect on the distinctive contribution made to both fields when applied to actual policy problems. It argues, first, that CPDA encourages and facilitates a relational analysis of policy; second, it emphasises the constitutive role of discourse in policy analysis; third, that CPDA encourages analysis of the context of policy discourse and of the mutually constitutive relationship which holds between them; and, fourth, that the CPDA approach encourages analysis of the connection between policy and power. It concludes that CPDA not only leads to better understanding of the investigated topic, but it also leads to a synergy in which theory informs the analysis, while the analysis informs theory.

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Edited by Nicolina Montesano Montessori, Michael Farrelly and Jane Mulderrig

This book provides a series of contemporary and international policy case studies analysed through discursive methodological approaches in the traditions of critical discourse analysis, social semiotics and discourse theory. This is the first volume that connects this discursive methodology systematically to the field of critical policy analysis and will therefore be an essential book for researchers who wish to include a discursive analysis in their critical policy research.