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Enriching Discourse Theory: the Discursivematerial Knot1 As a Non-Hierarchical Ontology

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Laclau and Mouffe's discourse theory has played a significant role in thinking through the political role of knowledge and ideology, without ignoring the significance of the material, also in relation to its post-Marxist agenda and the de-essentialisation of class relations. At the same time, there is a need to enrich discourse theory, by finding a better balance between the discursive and the material, and by providing a better theoretisation of the entanglement of the discursive and the material. This article remains grounded in, and loyal to, discourse theory, but aims to learn from new materialism in order to develop a non-hierarchical theory of entanglement, as a discursive-material knot. In particular, it investigates the theoreticalconceptual potential of three concepts, namely the assemblage, the invitation and the investment. This theoretical development also has strategic importance, in that it facilitates a better and more constructive dialogue between different (critical) fields, for instance, between those that are explicitly engaged with discourse theory and new materialism, but also between the emancipatory project(s) that post-Marxism advocates, namely cultural studies and (critical) political economy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 2019

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  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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