Discourse Analysis - Anthropology Essay Example

Discourse Analysis is a range of research approaches that are based on the use of language - Discourse Analysis introduction. Parker (1994 cited in Willig 2001, p. 107) presents discourse as a “system of statements which constructs an object and an array of subject positions” and in 1999 as patterns of meaning used to organize various symbolic systems in which people reside, enabling the exchange of meaning. Discourse analysis considers that that there is no one true view or interpretation. Interpretations are subjective, based on the social milieu and dominant discourses of the time.

Discourse analysis tries to approach reality and truth by analysing the particular historical and social context. (Foucault, 1972). There are many different types of discourse analysis. One of them is the Foucauldian discourse analysis that has its own assumptions, emphasis and methods. Foucauldian discourse analysis is considered to be the most relevant one for contemporary analysis in the social sciences. It is based on the ideas of Foucault. Foucault showed the influence that power relationships have on the shaping of the individual (Sawicki, 1991).


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His main research was in introspective analysis trying to uncovering and discover a ‘deeper reality’ and revealing the ‘truth’ of our essence. He believed that our identities, our experiences, thoughts, and feelings, are constructed by the exchanges that exist between people that live in the same cultural environment (Burr, 1995). Discources provide us with a frame of reference, a way of interpreting the world and assigning meaning and with ways of representing ourselves, what we think, feel, and desire (Burr, 1995). Burr, V. (1995) An Introduction to Social Constructionism, London: Routledge.

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