This workshop aims to introduce participants to the basics of social science discourse analysis (and similar approaches such as narrative analysis), i.e. to a family of (interpretive) approaches that emphasise the constructed nature of the social and the importance of struggles for interpretive hegemony for the definition of social and political “realities”.
It starts with an introduction to the theoretical and epistemological bases of (poststructuralist) discourses analysis, then moves on to practical exercises whose aim is to illustrate how discourse analytical research is concretely done. These exercises will also raise issues such as validity criteria, the nature and limits of interpretation, and how to write up this type of research convincingly. Finally, we will briefly consider various “schools” of discourse analysis and discuss the usefulness of discourse analytical work for various disciplines.
The workshop will consist of (interactive) lectures and various practical exercises. By the end of the workshop, the participants should have gained a basic understanding of:
The theoretical bases of discourse analysis and the type of research questions that it can help to address;
Some key tools of discourse analysis and how they can help "opening up" data (analysis of systems of meanings, framings, categorisations, genealogical analysis, etc.);
The practical steps of a discourse analytical approach;
The typical limitations and problems of discourse analysis, applicable quality criteria;
What to pay attention to when writing up discourse analytical research.
Audience The workshop welcomes participants with a variety of backgrounds. However, it will be particularly useful to:
participants with little or no prior knowledge of discourse analysis who wish to get some insights into this methodology
participants who have some acquaintance with discourse analysis but who feel the need to discuss and reflect on their own practices.
Note: The instructor will often refer to practical illustrations in the fields of political science, sociology and gender studies. However, participants from other social science disciplines as well as from interdisciplinary fields (environmental studies, health studies, etc.) or the humanities (linguistics, history) are also welcome to attend.