Skip to main content

Unit information: Discourse Analysis: Research Methods for Politics and International Relations in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Discourse Analysis: Research Methods for Politics and International Relations
Unit code POLIM3024
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Carver
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit will look at the theory and methods of discourse analysis. It will survey the theoretical development of discourse theory, examine the main arguments and concepts in discourse theory and methods, and introduce students to a range of examples of the ways in which discourse theory and methods have been applied to studies in Politics and International Relations. Particular attention will be paid to the identification of different discourse theories and consideration of the various discourse methods that derive from these theoretical frameworks. Students will be required to apply discourse theory and methods to their own research project during the unit. They will be given the opportunity to analyse a variety of texts (visual and written) in collaboration with other students, and to discuss the theoretical and methodological implications of their analyses.

Aims:

  • To provide an accessible account of the theoretical development of discourse theory
  • To examine the main arguments of discourse theory and methods, and survey their key concepts
  • To provide a detailed account of the forms of discourse theory and methods developed by particular contemporary theorists
  • To illustrate how discourse theory and methods have been applied to specific studies in Politics and International Relations
  • To enable students to apply discourse theory and methods to their own research projects

Intended learning outcomes

  • To understand the key arguments and concepts of discourse theory and methods
  • To grasp the diversity of discourse theories and methods available and understand their central differences
  • To be familiar with the ways in which discourse theory and methods are applied in Politics and International Relations
  • To be able to analyse documentary and visual texts

Teaching details

The following methods will be used:

  • Critical evaluation of relevant literature
  • Discussion and group work
  • Applied visual analysis
  • Literature searches and primary source work, including internet
  • Textual discourse analysis

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: Group analysis of a text (visual or written) Summative assessment: a 2,500 to 3,500 word piece of discourse analysis (students will be required to select and apply discourse theory and methods to a text relevant to their own research project).

  1. Formative assessment on the substance of the student’s grasp of Discourse Analysis is carried out by tutors and communicated to students via verbal feedback on seminar discussions, and verbal and written feedback on a seminar presentation.
  2. Summative assessment on the substance of the student’s grasp of Discourse Analysis is provided in the form of written feedback on 2,500-3,500 word research-based essay.

These formative and summative assessments represent components of a wider context of appraisal in which relevant intellectual skills and attributes are assessed by means of the study skills diagnostic exercise, contributions to seminar discussions, seminar presentations, group activities in seminars, the essays, dissertation workshop presentations, and the dissertation. All modes of assessment require critical thinking, the application of concepts to empirical data, an ability to link argument and evidence and the application of formal presentational techniques.

Reading and References

  • Hall, S (ed.) (1997) Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Sage.
  • Howarth, D., A. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis (eds) (2000) Discourse Theory and

Political Analysis. Manchester University Press

  • Fairclough, N. (2003) Analyzing Discourse: textual analysis for social research. Routledge
  • Finlayson, A. and J. Valentine (2002), Politics and Post-structuralism, Edinburgh University Press.
  • Laclau, E. and C. Mouffe, (1985) Hegemony and socialist strategy. Verso.
  • Milliken, J. (1999) ‘The study of discourse in international relations: A critique of research and methods,’ European Journal of International Relations, 5(2): 225-254.

Feedback