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Unformatted text preview: Discourse
Analysis
and
Social
Critique
 MARKUS
WRBOUSCHEK
 University
of
Vienna
 
 
 
 Among
 those
 branches
 of
 qualitative
 social
 sciences
 that
 deal
 with
 the
 study
 of
 discursive
 phenomena
 and
 structures,
 a
 variety
 of
 approaches—collectively
 referred
 to
 as
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis,
 explicitly
 formulate
 a
 scientific
 agenda
 which
 is
 closely
 linked
 to
 social
 critique.
 This
 claim
 for
 an
 active
 positioning
 of
 research
 and
 researchers
 within
 the
 ongoing
 discourse
 pose
 some
 methodological
 and
 ethical
 problems.
 Methodological
 problems
 concern
 the
 question
 of
 whether
 or
 not
 it
 is
 possible
 to
 show
 the
 links
 between
 the
 actual
 analytical
 research
 practice
 and
 the
 impetus
 for
 social
 change
 associated
 with
 it.
 Ethical
 considerations
 may
question
the
validity
of
a
research
program
that
seem
to
cross
the
border
of
‘manufacturing
 opinion.’
 This
 article
 tries
 to
 examine
 some
 methodological
 programs
 of
 the
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis
 with
 special
 regard
 to
 the
 outlined
 co‐foundation
 of
 critical
 and
 empirical
 methodological
 principals
 and
 tries
 to
 show
 how
 a
 genuinely
 critical
 approach
 to
 discourse
 study
can
and
should
be
part
of
further
methodological
discussions.
 
 
 
 In
this
article,
I
would
like
to
present
some
thoughts
concerning
the
concept
of
 critique
 as
it
is
elaborated
within
the
field
of
discourse
studies
and
more
precisely,
in
the
field
of
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis.
 I
 think
 that
 these
 concepts
 can
 be
 adopted
 within
 other
 branches
of
social
sciences
in
order
to
define
a
more
general
project
of
those
practices
 such
 as
 critical
 research.
 The
 following
 remarks
 are
 written
 from
 a
 theoretical
 perspective,
which
clearly
trace
back
to
the
work
of
Michel
Foucault.
Foucault,
as
one
of
 the
 influential
 authors
 within
 the
 tradition
 of
 discourse
 theories,
 refers
 to
 the
 term
 critique
as
 the
 art
 of
 not
 being
governed
in
a
certain
 way
(Foucault,
1992,
 p.
12).
This
 claim
is
linked
to
Foucault’s
program
of
critically
reconstructing
discursive
practices
in
 which
subjectivity
is
constituted
within
specific
configurations
of
power
and
knowledge
 (Foucault,
2005).
Following
Foucault,
the
empirical
study
of
discursive
practices
can
be
 conceived
 as
 an
 attempt
 to
 analyse
 social
 phenomena
 as
 being
 to
 an
 important
 extent
 discursively
configured.
Any
articulation
of
specific
knowledge
about
social
practices
is
 at
the
same
time
a
discursive
(re‐)configuration
of
the
social
structures
it
observes.
Thus
 there
is
no
such
thing
as
‘pure’
knowledge
of
social
laws
and
structures.
The
researcher
 has
 to
 understand
 him
 or
herself
as
 a
critical
 analyst
 of
the
 same
 power
 relations
that
 structure
social
fields.
Analysis
itself
is
then
understood
as
an
act
of
interfering
with
the
 discursive
order
that
governs
a
certain
field
of
action
(see
Reisigl,
2003)
and
thereby
as
 a
 political
 act
 which
 cannot
 be
 separated
 from
 its
 implications
 within
 the
 social
 (and
 political)
world.
The
critical
discourse
analyst
embraces
this
challenge
while
at
the
same
 time
 methodologically
 reflecting
 on
 the
 consequences
 that
 this
 has.
 A
 clear
 understanding
of
the
socio‐political
aspect
of
social
research
and
especially
of
what
we
 mean
 by
 ‘being
critical
 researchers’
 has
to
be
 at
the
 centre
 of
such
 a
 reflection.
 On
the
 following
 pages
 I
 will
 try
to
 summarize
 some
of
 the
ways
in
which
this
 issue
has
 been
 addressed
within
Critical
Discourse
Analysis.
 
 While
 most
 of
 the
 general
 assumptions
 outlined
 above
 have
 been
 widely
 adopted,
 though
 with
 different
 terminology,
 within
 the
 social
 sciences,
 the
 conceptualization
 of
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 36 critique
 as
 an
 element
 of
 scientific
 methodology
 has
 often
 been
 neglected.
 An
 explicit
 attempt
to
incorporate
critique
within
an
empirical
methodology
for
the
social
sciences,
 however,
 has
 been
 developed
 by
 proponents
 of
 the
 so
 called
 ‘Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis.’
 From
 the
 various
 and—concerning
 their
 theoretical
 background—quite
 heterogeneous
 branches
 of
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis,
 I
 would
 like
 to
 refer
 to
 two
 conceptions.
 I
 will
 start
 with
 the
 discourse‐historical
 approach
 to
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis
 (Reisigl
 &
 Wodak,
 2001).
 As
 this
 approach
 does
 not
 resort
 to
 Foucault
 as
 its
 main
 theoretical
 framework
 but
 draws
 upon
 the
 Critical
 Theory
 formulated
 by
 Jürgen
 Habermas
 (Reisigl
 &
 Wodak,
 2001)
 it
 cannot
 be
 directly
 incorporated
 within
 the
 perspective
taken
here.
It
does,
however,
provide
a
basis
for
a
clear
understanding
of
the
 role
 of
 critique
 and
 its
 functions
 within
 the
 research
 process.
 In
 contrast
 to
 the
 discourse‐historical
 approach,
 the
 Duisburg
 School
 of
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis,
 elaborated
 by
 Siegfried
 and
Margarete
 Jäger
 and
 their
 team
 (Jäger,
 2001a),
 provides
 a
 formulation
of
critique
which
draws
upon
the
central
Foucaultian
concepts
of
power
and
 knowledge.
This
approach
tries
to
formulate
a
critical
position,
which
avoids
the
traps
of
 the
classic
model
of
 Ideologiekritik
(Diaz‐Bone,
2006).
Both
approaches
share—despite
 their
 theoretical
 and
 methodological
 differences—interest
 in
 a
 critical
 project
 that
 is
 simultaneously
 methodologically
 well
 grounded
 and
 reflected,
 as
 well
 as
 socially
 engaged
in
the
aforementioned
sense.
 
 First,
 I
 will
 discuss
 some
 important
 elements
 relating
 to
 the
 theoretical
 discourse
 perspective
which
is
taken
in
this
article.
The
underlying
thesis
is
that
relevant
aspects
 of
 social
 structure
 and
 practice
 are
 governed
 by
 speech,
 and
 more
 precisely
 language
 practices,
 as
 acts
 of
 articulating,
 and
 also
 performing,
 meaning.
 Thus,
 language
 is
 not
 simply
a
medium
carrying
meaning,
but
a
constitutive
practice.
It
is
itself
something
that
 is
fought
with
and
fought
about,
as
Foucault
puts
it.
Because
of
this
basic
assumption,
it
 is
not
sufficient
for
discourse
analysis
to
show
what
a
given
discourse
or
social
practice
 ‘means’
but
it
has
to
investigate
how
meaning
is
constituted
through
discursive
practice
 and
what
is
included
or
excluded
in
this
process.
Language
constitutes
social
reality
by
 creating
a
matrix
that
governs
what
can
be
said
and
what
cannot
be
said
(Jäger,
2001b,
 pp.
 83).
 Thereby
 language
 sets
 the
 frames
 of
 meaning,
 within
 which
 individuals
 and
 groups
act.
 
 As
 a
 consequence
 of
 this
 approach,
 the
 analysis
 of
 these
 discursive
 practices
 of
 articulating
meaning
has
to
deal
with
the
question
of
power
relations
within
discourse.
 This
 is,
 because
 as
 the
 articulation
 of
 orders
 of
 meaning
 is
 directly
 linked
 to
 social
 positioning
 and
dominance,
inequalities
of
access
to
 and
influence
in
 certain
 fields
 are
 distributed
 by
 these
 very
 articulation
 processes.
Foucault
 suggests
that
 the
subjects
of
 the
social
struggles
for
meaning
cannot
be
grasped
as
fully
self
conscious
founders
of
a
 sequence
of
acts,
but
that
the
‘actors’
are
themselves
constituted
exactly
in
and
by
their
 collective
 and
 antagonistic
 discursive
 practices
 (Foucault,
 2005).
 The
 subject
 is
 not
 at
 the
foundation
of
the
social
order
but
rather
‘subjected’
to
a
collectivity
which,
in
turn,
is
 structured
by
language
and
language
practice.
 
 I
 want
 to
 elaborate
 this
 essential
 point
 a
 bit
 further.
 Following
 Foucault’s
 argument,
 social/discursive
 relationships
 do
 not
 form
 a
 freely
 floating
 exchange
 of
 free
 and
 self
 conscious
speakers,
but
are
interwoven
by
a
net
of
subtle
and
differencing
relations
of
 power.
 Each
 form
 of
 discursive
 positioning
 takes
 place
 along
 an
 axis
 of
 domination/subjugation
 (equality
 being
 just
 one
 very
 specific
 possibility
 along
 this
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 37 axis).
 The
 concrete
 forms
 of
 dominance
 are
 not
 linked
 a
 priori
 to
 certain
 speaker
 positions,
 but
 rather—like
 any
 discursive
 identity—configured
 within
 specific
 discursive
orders.
Power,
in
a
Foucaultian
sense,
is
not
a
privilege
that
certain
subjects
 possess
 or
 lack,
 but
 a
 fundamental
 condition
 of
 any
 discursive,
 which
 means
 social,
 constitution
 of
 subjectivity
 (Foucault,
 1994).
 There
 is
 no
 escaping
 power
 and
 the
 (re‐ )articulation
 of
 power
 relations
 are
 at
 the
 core
 of
 any
 social
 practice,
 including
 the
 practice
of
research
as
will
be
discussed
below.
 
 Note
that
from
the
above
paragraphs
it
should
be
clear
that
critique
in
the
context
of
this
 particular
theoretical
framework
relates
to
language
and
language
practices
and
has
to
 address
 specific
 relations
 of
 power
 as
 the
 starting
 point
 of
 its
 intervention.
 In
 this
 manner,
critique
has
to
be
understood
as
language
practice
itself,
as
its
 modus
operandi
 is
the
articulation
of
meaning.
Thus,
critique
is
a
form
of
discourse,
one
that
is
held
over
 other
 discourses.
 It
 forms
 a
 certain
 kind
 of
 meta‐discourse
 that
 seeks
 to
 re‐articulate
 and
 thereby
 transform
certain
relations
 of
 power,
and
 in
 doing
 so,
generates
 effects
of
 power.
 There
 is
 no
 ontological
 gap
 between
 the
criticising
 discourse
and
 the
criticised
 discourse.
This
point
will
be
taken
up
again.
 
 Further,
as
Foucault
defines
critique
as
‘the
art
not
to
be
governed
in
a
certain
way,’
he
is
 not
implying
that
one
can
or
should
just
take
down
‘those
who
are
in
power.’
Rather,
the
 art
 consists
 of
 intervening
 with
 those
 (discursive)
 practices
 that
 legitimize
 the
 actual
 order.
 
 The
 specific
 position
 of
 science
 within
 this
 framework
 is
 also
 worth
 mentioning
 here.
 Like
other
forms
of
social
activities,
science
is
understood
as
discursive
social
practice.
It
 is
 not
 understood
 as
 a
 set
 of
 norms
 governing
 the
 acquisition
 and
 distribution
 of
 knowledge,
 but
 rather
 as
 an
 ongoing
 discourse
 over
 social
 discourses,
 a
 second
 order
 discourse
 which
is
governed
by
specific
 rules
like
any
other
discourse.
 These
rules
are
 elaborated
 and
 constantly
 transformed
 in
 the
process
 itself
 and
 do
 not
 have
 a
 value
 a
 priori
 to
 the
 practice
 of
 research.
 The
 concern
 here
 is
 not
 the
 problem
 of
 accuracy
 of
 scientific
 results
 within
 a
 model
 of
 correct
 description,
 but
 the
 production
 and
 reproduction
 of
 the
 scientific
 discourse
 in
 relation
 to
 any
 ‘other
 discourse’
 which
 it
 analyses
(Jäger,
2001a,
pp.
215).
 
 Finally,
 as
 mentioned
 above,
 the
 discourse
 that
 ‘we’
 as
 researchers
 hold
 about
 certain
 social
 practices
 cannot
claim
a
special
position
for
 itself
 which
is
 ontologically
distinct
 from
 the
 one
 we
 intend
 to
 analyse.
 Social
 research
 and
 critique
 participates
 in
 the
 struggle
 for
 meaning
and
 subject
 positioning
 at
the
same
 level
 as
 any
 other
discourse.
 Furthermore,
both
social
research
and
critique
have
to
be
aware
of
their
role
within
the
 constant
articulation
and
re‐articulation
of
social
orders
of
meaning.
There
is
no
higher
 legitimization
 that
 scientific
 discourse
 could
 claim
 for
 itself.
 There
 are,
 however,
 different
 forms
 of
 producing
 and
 evaluating
 scientific
 knowledge.
 The
 impact
 of
 scientific
interventions
within
the
field
of
social
practice
must
therefore
be
open
to
the
 same
critique
which
it
imposes
on
those
discourses
which
are
their
subject
of
interest.
 
 In
 the
 following
 pages
 the
 project
 of
 social
 research
 as
 a
 critical
 undertaking
 will
 be
 outlined
in
relation
to
the
theoretical
discourse
positions
I
have
tried
to
explain
above.
 As
the
scope
of
this
paper
does
not
allow
for
a
detailed
description,
a
preliminary
sketch
 will
 have
 to
 suffice.
 The
 discussion
 about
 social
 critique
 is
 a
 long
 standing
 one
 with
 a
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 38 wide
 range
 of
 differing
 positions.
 Therefore,
 the
 aim
 of
 this
 paper
 is
 not
 to
 introduce
 ‘new’
insight,
but
rather
to
prolong
the
discussion
about
the
status
of
social
critique
as
a
 methodologically
founded
form
of
 scientific
 practice
 within
 the
context
of
 some
 recent
 research
 methodologies.
 I
 further
 hope
 to
 inspire
 forthcoming
 debates
 regarding
 a
 critical
 position
 as
 it
 seems
 to
 be
 one
 of
 the
 more
 challenging
 problems
 of
 methodological
 discussions,
 which
 are,
 if
 it
 is
 broached
 at
 all,
 often
 swept
 over
 too
 quickly
within
methodological
debates.

 
 A
TYPOLOGY
OF
CRITIQUE
 
 Within
 the
 framework
 of
 the
 discourse‐historical
 approach
 to
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis,
elaborated
by
Ruth
Wodak
and
others,
a
precise
definition
of
social
critique
as
 constitutive
part
of
the
research
practice
is
given.
Martin
Reisigl
and
Ruth
Wodak
(2001)
 distinguish
three
forms
of
critique
within
the
social
sciences.
With
these
three
forms
the
 authors
 present
 an
 internal
 distinction
 of
 elements
 of
 critique
 which
 are
 often
 used
 falsely
or
 without
the
 necessary
 precision.
 I
 will
start
 out
with
 a
 short
presentation
 of
 this
 concept
 which,
 as
 I
 indicated
 above,
 does
 not
 align
 with
 a
 strict
 Foucaultian
 background
 but
 more
 with
 Habermas´
 Critical
 Theory.
 Concerning
 the
 theoretical
 implications
of
Reisigl’s
and
Wodak’s
concept,
critical
remarks
have
been
brought
forth
 by
 Siegfried
 Jäger
 whose
 own
 approach
 to
 Critical
 Discourse
 Analysis
 follows
 the
 tradition
 of
 Michel
 Foucault
 (see
 for
 an
 overview
 Jäger,
 2008).
 I
 will
 present
 a
 short
 confrontation
of
these
two
concepts
in
order
to
define
an
internally
structured
model
of
 social
critique
within
the
methodology
of
Critical
Discourse
Analysis,
which
can
be
used
 with
 some
 terminological
 precision
 for
 the
 empirical
 study
 of
 (discursive)
 social
 phenomena.
Note
that
such
a
short
overview
of
current
concepts,
as
this
paper
presents,
 cannot
 accurately
 account
 for
 all
 the
 theoretical
 and
 methodological
 heterogeneity
 within
the
field
of
Critical
Discourse
Analysis.1
 
 1.
Discourse­immanent
Critique
 
 Reisigl
 and
 Wodak
 (2001)
 use
 the
 term
 discourse­immanent
 critique
 to
 designate
 the
 internal
consistency
and
logical
(argumentational)
stringency
of
a
discourse.
 
 “’Text
 or
 discourse
 immanent
 critique´
 aims
 at
 discovering
 inconsistencies,
 (self­)
 contradictions,
 paradoxes
 and
 dilemmas
 in
 the
 text­internal
 or
 discourse­internal,
 for
 example,
 logico­semantic,
 cohesive,
 syntactic,
 performative,
 presuppositional,
 implicational,
 argumentation,
 fallacious
 and
 interactional
 (e.g.
 turn­taking)
 structures.”
 (Reisigl
&
Wodak,
2001,
p.
32)
 
 In
a
more
narrow
sense
this
form
of
critique
 does
not
imply
a
social‐critical
or
political
 function
 as
 it
 is
 primarily
 concerned
 with
 what
 the
 actual
 meaning
 of
 this
 particular
 discourse
is
in
the
first
place.
It
wants
to
answer
questions
like:
What
does
this
mean?
 How
 does
 this
 make
 sense?
 And,
 are
 there
 contradictions,
 ambiguities
 or
 semantic,
 cohesive,
 argumentational
 etc.
 problems
 that
 arise
 from
 the
 discourse
 as
 it
 is?
 Reisigl
 and
Wodak
(2001)
make
it
very
clear
that
even
in
this
early
stage
of
a
critical
discourse
 undertaking
the
position
of
the
researcher
(e.g.
his
or
her
knowledge
and
expectations
 about
 the
 subject
 in
 question)
 matter
 in
 the
 sense
 that
 his
 or
 her
 particular
 position
 1
A
more
detailed
examination
would
have
to
include
at
least
Norman
Fairclough’s
approach
as
well
as
the
 work
of
Teun
Van
Dijk
(see
Fairclough
2001,
Van
Dijk
1977).
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 39 functions
 as
 a
 kind
 of
 filter
 for
 what
 can
 be
 obtained
 from
 the
 text.
 However,
 this
 knowledge
 is
 at
 this
 stage
 nothing
 more
 than
 a
 horizon
 against
 which
 inconsistencies
 and
 ambiguities
 of
 the
 given
 articulation—measured
 discourse
 internally,
 e.g.
 with
 respect
to
the
general
line
of
practice—can
be
diagnosed.

 
 2.
Socio­diagnostic
Critique
 
 While
 the
 first
 form
 of
 critique
 does
 not
 involve
 social
 context
 or
 possible
 social
 and
 political
implications
and
functions
of
the
investigated
discourse,
these
dimensions
are
 at
the
centre
of
attention
in
the
second
form
of
critique.
 
 “In
contrast
to
the
still
widely
unpolitical
´immanent
critique´
the
´sociodiagnostic
critique´
 is
 concerned
 with
 the
 demystifying
 exposure
 of
 the
 –
 manifest
 or
 latent
 –
 persuasive,
 propagandist,
 populist,
 ´manipulative´
 character
 of
 discursive
 practices.
 It
 aims
 at
 detecting
problematic
[from
the
researchers
point
of
view,
MW]
social
and
political
goals
 and
functions
of
discursive
practices,
at
uncovering
the
responsibilities
and
the
speakers´
–
 sometimes
 –
 disguised,
 contradictory,
 opposing,
 ambivalent
 or
 ´polyphonic´
 intentions,
 claims
 and
 interests,
 which
 are
 either
 inferable
 from
 the
 (spoken
 or
 written)
 discourse
 itself
 or
 from
 contextual,
 social,
 historical
 and
 political
 knowledge.”
 (Reisigl
 &
 Wodak,
 2001,
pp.
32)
 
 The
 aim
 of
 such
 a
 critique
 is
 to
 elaborate
 the
 social,
 political
 field
of
 reference
 for
 the
 given
 discourse.
 Words
 like
 “diagnostic,”
 “detecting”
 or
 “exposure”
 mark
 the
 enlightenment‐oriented
approach,
which
is
characteristic
for
this
form
of
critique.
This
 problematic
aspect
is
conceded
by
the
authors
who
clearly
distance
themselves
from
a
 ‘know‐it‐better
attitude’
in
their
analysis.
Although
Reisigl
and
Wodak
(2001)
explicitly
 state
that
they
envision
a
research
position
of
relative
distance
and
not
one
of
absolute
 authority
over
the
discourse
systems
that
are
studied,
Siegfried
Jäger
(Jäger
2001a,
Diaz‐ Bone
 2006)
 points
 to
 the
 fact
 that
 the
 rhetoric
 of
 exposing
 or
 detecting
 does
 nevertheless
 imply
 an
 outside
 position
 of
 the
 interpreter
 who
 approaches
 his
 or
 her
 subject
 from
 a
safe
 distance.
According
 to
 Jäger,
 such
an
approach
 still
remains
 within
 the
 standpoint
 of
 Ideologiekritik
 (critique
 of
 ideologies)
 which
 is
 characteristic
 of
 traditional
 approaches
 inspired
 by
 Critical
 Theory
 (Diaz‐Bone,
 2006).
 In
 opposition
 to
 this
 view,
 which
 would
 still
 be
 based
 on
 an
 objective
 claim
 for
 truth,
 Siegfried
 Jäger
 (Diaz‐Bone
2006)
positions
his
approach
of
a
relative
relativism,
as
he
calls
it
in
the
cited
 interview.
 With
 Foucault
 Jäger
 argues
 against
 marginalizing
 the
 problem
 of
 truth
 by
 simply
stating
that
there
is
no
such
thing
as
truth
and
considering
any
further
discussion
 obsolete.
On
the
contrary,
the
aim
is
to
situate
the
problem
of
truth
within
the
discourse
 itself.
In
other
words,
truth
should
be
viewed
as
a
contingent
effect
of
certain
discursive
 practices
that
are
constituted
within
specific
and
discursive
constellations.
The
solution
 then
would
not
be
to
ignore
one’s
own
position
as
a
discursively
predetermined
locus
of
 speech
 or
 try
 to
 methodically
 ‘eliminate’
 one’s
 subjective
 position
 within
 the
 field
 of
 discourse,
 but
 rather
 to
 get
 involved
 actively
 in
 a
 practice
 of
 truth
 articulation
 in
 the
 sense
of
an
ongoing
struggle
on
the
field
of
truth.
Such
an
approach
locates
the
scientific
 practice
 in
 the
 middle
 of
 the
 discursive
 struggles
 as
 part
 of
 a
 general
 practice
 of
 producing
and
re‐producing
orders
of
meaning
that
underlie
our
social
relations.
 
 As
 indicated
 before,
 Reisigl
 and
 Wodak
 (2001)
 do
 face
 the
 problem
 of
 using
 formulations
which
imply
that
the
researcher’s
standpoint
is
outside
of
discourse—that
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 40 is,
 the
 social
 orders
 of
 meaning.
 Even
 though
 they
 explicitly
 distance
 themselves
 from
 such
 a
 position
 (Reisigl
 &
 Wodak,
 2001,
 p.
 33),
 the
 danger
 of
 misinterpreting
 their
 conception
as
an
attempt
to
preserve
 a
special
position
of
critical
distance
and
‘higher’
 relevance
 for
 the
 researcher
 seems
 to
 be
 implied
 in
 the
 way
 they
 elaborate
 their
 categories
(see
the
above
definition).
 
 If
 one
 tries
 to
 preserve
 the
 aim
 of
 a
 “socio‐diagnostic
 critique”
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 the
 aforementioned
 Foucault‐inspired
 critique,
 the
 political
 character
 of
 this
 form
 of
 intervention
 becomes
 even
clearer.
“Detecting”
socio‐political
references
and
 functions
 within
a
given
discourse
becomes
an
intervention
within
the
field
of
the
discourse
and
 has
 to
 be
 conceptualised
 as
 a
 relevant
 articulation
 within
 the
 struggle
 for
 truth.
 The
 researcher
 is
 thereby
 part
 of
 the
 political
 discourse
 he
 or
 she
 tries
 to
 understand
 and
 describe.
The
implications
of
any
act
of
description
within
the
described
field
must
then
 be
part
of
the
critical
undertaking
and
part
of
the
researcher’s
reflexions.
 
 3.
Prospective
Critique
 
 The
third
form
of
critique,
as
Reisigl
and
Wodak
(2001)
explain
it,
is
finally
reserved
for
 what
 would
 probably
 be
 called
 common
 sense
 critique.
 It
 centres
 on
 the
 development
 and
formulation
of
practical
alternatives
on
the
basis
of
the
analysis
of
the
discourse
in
 question.
 
 “While
 the
 two
 aspects
 of
 critique
 mentioned
 above
 are
 primarily
 …
 related
 to
 the
 epistemic
 and
 cognitive
 dimensions
 of
 ´seeing
 through´,
 of
 ´illuminating´
 and
 ´making
 transparent´
…
the
´prospective
critique´
is
associated
with
the
ethico­practical
dimension.
 Inasmuch
 as
 it
 is
 contra­present
 and
 seeks
 to
 become
 practical
 and
 to
 change
 and
 transform
things
…
it
is
political
in
the
action
related
sense
of
´politics´.
…
 Such
 an
 engaged
 social
 critique
 is
 nurtured
 ethically
 by
 a
 sense
 of
 justice
 based
 on
 the
 normative
and
universalist
conviction
of
the
unrestricted
validity
of
human
rights
and
by
 the
awareness
of
suffering,
which
both
take
sides
against
social
discrimination,
repression,
 domination,
 exclusion
 and
 exploitation
 and
 for
 emancipation,
 self­determination
 and
 social
recognition
….”
(Reisigl
&
Wodak,
2001,
pp.
33)
 
 The
first
 paragraph
of
 this
definition,
once
 again,
clarifies
 the
problematic
character
of
 this
formulation
of
critique.
The
attempt
to
distinguish
‘pure
description’
from
engaged
 action
 on
 the
 practical
 or
 ethical
 level,
 fuels
 Sigfried
 Jäger’s
 argument
 that
 points
 to
 a
 hidden
 objectivism
 within
 this
 model.
 Being
 able
 to
 clearly
 determine
 the
 division
 between
 presenting
 facts
 and
 articulating
 one’s
 own
 discourse
 position
 seems
 somewhat
 arbitrary
 and
 implies
 that
 one
 could
 separate
 the
 stage
 of
 pure
 description
 within
the
research
process,
engaging
in
the
struggle
only
in
a
second
step
when
starting
 to
 present
 alternatives.
 If
 one
 understands
 the
 discourse
 (the
 one
 that
 we
 hold
 as
 researchers)
as
truth
articulation,
as
described
above,
it
becomes
clear
that
‘pointing
to
 these
facts’
is
already
an
act
of
truth
constitution—of
manufacturing
an
effect
of
facticity
 which
is
in
relation
to
its
discursive
origins
itself
contingent.
 
 Albeit
the
objections,
that
can
be
made
against
the
distinction
between
describing
facts
 and
formulating
alternatives
from
the
perspective
of
the
position
of
the
researcher,
I
still
 think
 that
 the
 distinction
 can
 serve
 a
 pragmatic
 purpose
 insofar
 as
 it
 allows
 the
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 41 separation
of
different
modi
of
articulation
within
the
research
process,
that
would
lead
 to
misunderstandings
if,
for
example,
mixed
up
in
the
presentation
of
research
results.
 
 THE
PERSPECTIVE
OF
THE
RESEARCHER—ONE
LAST
REMARK
 
 At
the
end
of
this
short
overview
I
would
like
to
take
up
the
question
of
the
perspective
 of
the
researcher
once
more.
As
could
be
seen
in
the
model
by
Martin
Reisigl
and
Ruth
 Wodak
 and
 the
 critique
 brought
 forward
 by
 Siegfried
 Jäger,
 the
 perspective
 of
 the
 researcher
has
to
be
reflected
in
relation
to
the
specific
field
of
discourse
of
which
he
or
 she
 is
 part
 of
 while
 articulating
 scientific
 knowledge
 about
 social
 practices.
 In
 the
 process
of
reflection
it
has
to
be
clear
that
each
articulation
itself
is
discursive
and
that
 there
 is
 no
 ontological
 difference
 between
 what
 social
 actors
 articulate
 and
 what
 a
 researcher
 has
 to
 say
 about
 these
 articulations.
 As
 there
 is
 no
 hierarchically
 superior
 legitimacy
that
scientific
articulation
could
claim,
the
question
of
what
a
foundation
for
 the
 formulation
 of
 scientific
 knowledge
 (and
 critique)
 could
 look
 like
 then
 arises.
 I
 would
 like
 to
 refer
 to
 a
 short
 article
 here
 that
 deals
 with
 this
 question
 from
 a
 philosophical
 perspective.
 Hakan
 Gürses
 develops
 a
 topograhy
 of
 critique
 in
 which
 he
 elaborates
 topoi
 that
 are
 taken
 by
 those
 who
 try
 to
 formulate
 critique
 (Gürses,
 2006).
 These
 topoi
can
be
understood
as
a
contrast
foil
for
critical
intervention.
Gürses
names
 three
central
options.
The
 topic
critique
refers
to
certain
norms,
theories
or
conventions in
order
to
measure
up
its
subject.
Those
norms
can
either
be
external
to
the
criticised
 discourse
 (e.g.
 when
 one
 criticises
 a
 totalitarian
 system
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 democratic
 principles)
 or
 discourse‐intern
 (for
 instance
 the
 reference
 to
 human
 rights
 within
 western
 democracies,
 see
 the
 definition
 of
 prospective
 critique
 by
 Reisigl
 and
 Wodak,
 2001,
above).
The
 utopian
critique
finds
its
foundation
within
a
future
or
generally
non‐ existent
 discourse,
 the
 principle
 of
 which
 it
 anticipates
 and
 installs
 as
 a
 measure
 for
 current
ongoings.
Any
form
of
an
‘ideal’
construct
of
society
(like
the
‘classless
society’
of
 traditional
Marxist
theories)
could
be
subsumed
under
this
type.
Finally,
the
third
form
 of
critique
is
called
idiotopic
critique.
Here
the
starting
point
for
critique
is
formed
by
the
 singular
 and
 concrete
 experience
 (of
 disadvantages,
 repression
 etc.)
 of
 the
 criticising
 subject.
 Within
 the
 workers
 movement
 of
 the
 19th
 century
 this
 moment
 would
 be
 the
 collective
experience
of
the
exploitation
of
the
working
class.
 
 This
typology
of
 references,
to
 which
 the
critical
 articulation
 can
 cling,
 seems
to
 be
an
 interesting
contribution
to
a
methodologically
elaborated
concept
of
critique
insofar
as
 it
 allows
 not
 only
 to
 clarify
 the
 ‘objective’
 side
 of
 critique
 (its
 object,
 the
 ontological
 status
of
the
criticised
discourse),
but
also
to
elaborate
the
‘subjective’
side,
the
position
 of
the
criticising
subject.
 
 With
his
description
of
 topoi
for
a
critical
intervention
Gürses
points
to
the
danger
that
 derives
 from
 an
 institutionalisation
 of
 critique.
 Such
 an
 institutionalisation
 consists
 in
 the
 reification
 of
 ones
 own
 topos
 of
 critique,
 which
 leads
 to
 the
 abandonment
 of
 the
 dynamic
and
transformative
aspect
of
critique
(this
can
be
witnessed
in,
for
example,
the
 reification
of
the
collective
experience
of
the
working
class—neglecting
specific
contexts
 and
transformations
of
this
experience—and
the
problems
to
which
it
led
in
the
history
 of
Marxist
critique).
Following
this,
Gürses
poses
the
question
whether
there
could
be
an
 atopic
critique
which
would
not
need
a
(fixed)
topos
at
its
foundation.
As
far
as
I
can
see
 this
seems
to
lead
in
a
similar
direction
as
Jägers
call
for
a
relativist
relativism.
Although
 a
positioning
(a
field
of
references)
is
essential
for
effective
critique,
this
topos
would
be
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 42 conceptualised
 as
 contingent,
 as
 a
 temporary
 position
 within
 an
 ever
 changing
 discursive
 whole.
 The
 transformation
 of
 this
 position
 would
 be
 the
 aim
 of
 the
 articulation
 of
 critique.
 In
 contrast
 to
 the
 notion
 of
 a
 fluent
 critique,
 the
 reification
 of
 ones
 own
 position
 of
 truth
 would
 reaffirm
 the
 element
 of
 discursive
 order
 at
 which
 critique
is
aimed
at
and
which
hinders
the
re‐articulation
of
truth
relations.
Critique
as
 truth
 articulation
 would
 then
 have
 to
 avoid
 the
 pitfall
 of
 staying
 within
 one
 topic
 ‘fortress.’
 This
 fluent
 conception
 of
 critique
 can
 only
 be
 fully
 recognised
 by
 a
 form
 of
 scientific
articulation
that
 is
open
to
 get
involved
 in
the
 intricacies
 of
discourse
 and
 to
 re‐articulate
itself
incessantly
as
matters
change.
It
seems
to
me
that
research
should
be
 exactly
that.
 
 References
 
 Diaz‐Bone,
R.
(2006).
Kritische
Diskursanalyse:
Zur
Ausarbeitung
einer
 problembezogenen
Diskursanalyse
im
Anschluss
an
Foucault.
Siegfried
Jäger
im
 Gespräch
mit
Rainer
Diaz‐Bone.
Forum
Qualitative
Sozialforschung/Forum:
 Qualitative
Social
Research,
7(3),
Art.
21.
Retrieved
October
22,
2008,
from
 http://nbn‐resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114‐fqs0603219
 Dijk,
Th.
Van
(1977).
Text
and
context.
Explorations
in
the
semantics
and
pragmatics
of
 discourse.
London
&
New
York:
Longman.
 Fairclough,
N.
(2001).
Language
and
power.
London
&
New
York:
Longman.

 Foucault,
M.
(1992).
Was
ist
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Merve.
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M.
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ich
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 AUTHOR
BIOGRAPHY
 
 Markus Wrbouschek has studied psychology and philosophy at the University of Vienna (Magister in psychology). He is currently lecturing at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Scientific interests include economic psychology, qualitative research Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
‐
44
 43 methods/methodology—especially discourse analysis. The author is a founding member of ikus. Email markus.wrbouschek@ikus.cc 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
36
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44
 44 ...
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