Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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This article assesses the current state of play of the poststructuralist and post-Marxist discourse theory associated with Laclau and Mouffe and the ‘Essex school’, and identifies ways forward at the level of theory development, research practice and critique. The article starts by disentangling the different meanings of the notion of ‘discourse’ in ‘discourse theory’, clarifying the specificities of discourse theory as a theoretical and analytical framework and situating discourse theory in, but also beyond, critical discourse studies. It then moves to an assessment of the current state of discourse theory, its main contributions, and the identification of shortcomings and ways forward. This discussion is organized around five topics: methodology and the theory-analysis dialectic; the logics approach; the discursive-material relation; the role of fantasy and other psychoanalytic categories; and populism.


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