Analyzing Variations and Stability in Discourse: Hegemony, nation and Muslim immigrants
This article offers a theoretical solution to the problem of analyzing stable constructions of social structures in discourse. In this article, I first discuss epistemological and methodological issues with Critical Discourse Analysis and Discursive Psychology and combine insights from these two approaches with insight from Discourse Theory as formulated by Laclau and Mouffe (2001). Despite the fact that language use is full of inconsistencies and contradictions and thus does not provide an inventory of stable ideological patterns, it is possible to analyze stable constructions of the social world without assuming the existence of macro-structures (i.e. ideologies or mental representations) as stabilizing background for discursive practices. I demonstrate that stability is not so much a function of ideologies or representations but depends on how the ontological structure of society is imagined. The new hegemonic articulation of the social division along cultural lines limits the positions that can be taken in relation to identity categories regardless of the values one attributes to the categories.
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