Cultural Studies Terms/Discourse

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Chief Theorist: Michel Foucault

Definition: Discourse:

- production of knowledge through Discourse - 'how human beings understand themselves in our culture and our knowledge about 'the social, the embodied individual and shared meanings' comes to be produced.

Foucault's concept:

- studied discourse as a system of representation - discourse usually means: passages of connecting writing or speech (not Foucault) - Discourse = group of statements which provide a language for talking about - a way of representing the knowledge about - a particular topic at a particular historical moment. - discourse constructs the topic (defines and produces the objects of our knowledge)and influences how ideas are put into practice. - nothing which is meaningful exists outside discourse (not about whether things exist but about where meaning comes from)

Discursive formation:

- discursive events that refer to the same object and share the same style.

Historicizing discourse:

-things only true within specific historical context. - in each period: Discourse produces forms of knowledge ( differing from period to period) - knowledge and practices around all subjects are historically and culturally specific. They can not meaningfully exist outside the ways they are represented in discourse.

Discourse produces not only meaning, but knowledge through language.

Related Terms: Discourse Analysis; Power-Knowledge


[1] (Wikipedia)

[2](The Discourse on Language)

[3] (Discourse, Power,Subjectivity)

[4] (Michel Foucault - Wikipedia)