Discourse Analysis: A Social-Philosophical Grounding (Paperback)
Michel Foucault once expressed his disagreement with the "breach" between social history and the history of ideas brought about by the assumption that the former is concerned with how people act without thinking, while the latter analyses how people think without acting. "People both think and act", he says, by way of a sarcasm consisting in having to point out the obvious. While in complete agreement with Foucault on this as on several other issues, the author of this book chooses to emphasise another "obviousness" of at least equal importance: that thoughts and (material) actions may well be inseparable in all fields of human/social existence, but they are not the same thing. The maintenance of the distinction between subjectivity/conceptuality on one hand and objectivity /materiality on the other constitutes a fundamental premise for the book's two closely interrelated goals: to criticise certain extremely influential currents of contemporary thought more or less loosely associated with "poststructuralism" and/or "postmodernism" which, each in its own fashion, have served to undermine this distinction; and to provide a philosophical /theoretical grounding for the methodology of the social sciences known as "discourse analysis". The importance of the latter is shown to consist in forming a methodological framework for a materialist critique that would escape both the economic reductionism of Marxism and the implicit (or manifest) idealism pertaining to all variations of Hegelianism.