Sociology of Discourse

From institutions to social change

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<i>Sociology of Discourse</i> takes the perspective that collective actors like social movements are capable of creating social change from below by creating new institutions through alternative discourses. Institutionalization becomes a process of moving away from existing institutions towards creating new ones. While discourses entail openness and enable the questioning of what is instituted, institutions offer continuity and stability to social mobilizations. This dual movement of openness and stabilization explains how social struggles ensure their continuity, without completely assuming the logic of the dominant order. The book proposes an analytical model of social change, which is unfolded through three intertwined areas: discourse, communication, and institution. Collective experiences of social change, from the anti-globalization movement to Occupy, illustrate the main theoretical points and concepts. Through the example of the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages, the book concludes by analyzing how social change from below is possible.

Subjects: Communication Studies; Discourse studies; Pragmatics; Sociology

  • Affiliations: 1: Aalborg University

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