Edited by Maurice Mullard and Bankole A. Cole
Chapter 2: Discourse Analysis and the War on Terror
Michael S. Drake INTRODUCTION This chapter assesses how the study of discourse can illuminate the dynamics of the war on terror. It commences with an overview of approaches to the study of discourse which identiﬁes problems for discourse analysis that are then traced through a wider range of critical approaches to the discourse of the war on terror. Since the concept of discourse itself remains contested or at least open (there is little even contentious dialogue between diﬀering approaches), such an overview needs to begin with discussion of the ‘discourse of discourse’, or how approaches to the analysis of discourse construct their subject. Such attempts at overview conventionally begin by tracing the development of discourse studies to sources in structural linguistics and the work of Michel Foucault, but in so doing they partake of one of the principal shortcomings of discourse studies itself, which is to take a primarily textualist approach, despite theoretically extending the concept of discourse to social practice in some way or other. APPROACHES TO THE ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE AND SOCIETY The analysis of discourse has proliferated over the past twenty years, penetrating into ﬁelds of social science that were previously dominated by empirical and even positivistic enquiry, and opening hitherto apparently peripheral phenomena as valid and signiﬁcant data for analysis. It is of course contentious whether this is in fact ‘new’ at all, since most formulations of discourse analysis could include such classical work in social science as Karl Marx’s critical analysis of...
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