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Instructor-led course

Provided by: Social Sciences Research Methods Programme

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Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis


The course offers an introduction to critical approaches to discourse analysis with a focus on linking theory with method. Students will be equipped with the conceptual and practical knowledge to analyse a broad range of issues based on text documents. The topic of the course will be approached from a broadly Foucauldian angle, considering discourse as social practices that create reality rather than merely reflect it. The emphasis of the three lectures will thus be less upon what is known as ‘conversation analysis’ or ‘content analysis’ and more on text and speech as gateways to understand the making of social phenomena and corresponding power relations.

In the first session, we will discuss the theoretical ideas and origins behind discourse analysis. In the second lecture, we will dive into methodological discussions around doing discourse analysis. In the third session, we will apply the method of discourse analysis with support of a qualitative text analysis software.

Target audience
  • University Students from Tier 1 Departments
  • Further details regarding eligibility criteria are available here
Topics covered

Session 1: The origins of critical discourse analysis (especially Foucault but also the Frankfurt School, Feminism, etc.); discussion of how theoretical backgrounds shape research designs

Session 2: The methodology of discourse analysis: introduction to different approaches

Session 3: Doing discourse analysis with the assistance of a qualitative text analysis software

  • To provide an overview of so-called critical approaches to discourse
  • To engage in-depth with Foucauldian discourse analysis
  • To critically examine methodologies
  • To practice discourse analysis with the assistance of a data analysis software

Suggested reading, and other teaching resources can be found on the course's Moodle page

Session 1:

  • Foucault, Michel (2002): The Archaelogy of Knowledge. London: Routledge Classics (Part II, 2-7, Discursive Formations, The Formation of Objects, The Formation of Enunciative Modalities, The Formation of Concepts, The Formation of Strategies (pp. 34-85); Part IV, 1, Archaeology and the History of Ideas (pp. 151-157) e-access via University library)
  • Foucault, Michel (1995): Discipline and Punish. Vintage Books. Part I, The Body of the Condemned (pp. 3-31). e-access via University library

Session 2:

  • Reiner Keller (2011): The Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse (SKAD). In: Human Studies, 34 (1)
  • Herzig, Christian / Moon, Jeremy : Discourses on corporate social ir/responsibility in the financial sector. In: Journal for Business Research 66(10):
  • Nancy Fraser and Linda Gordon (1994), “A Genealogy of Dependency” A Genealogy of Dependency: Tracing a Keyword of the U.S. Welfare State,” Signs: Journal of Women, Culture and Society, 19(2)

Session 3:

  • Download the free MAXQDA trial version here

This module is not assessed.

How to Book

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Moodle is the 'Virtual Learning Environment' (VLE) that the SSRMP uses to deliver online courses.

SSRMP lecturers use Moodle to make teaching resources available before, during, and/or after classes, and to make announcements and answer questions.

For this reason, it is vital that all SSRMP students enrol onto and explore their course Moodle pages once booking their SSRMP modules via the UTBS, and that they do so before their module begins. Moodle pages for modules should go live around a week before the module commences, but some may be made visible to students, earlier.

For more information, and links to specific Moodle module pages, please visit our website

Qualitative Methods

Events available