Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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When Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe published an elaborate version of their discourse theory in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), they were met with fierce resistance by a unified front of traditional Marxists and anti-poststructuralists. The debates on post-Marxism dominated much of the book’s reception. This focus, combined with discourse theory’s rather abstract nature, its lack of clear methodological guidelines, and its more natural habitat of Political Studies, caused discourse theory to remain confined to this realm of Political Studies, despite the broad ideological definition of the political preferred by the authors. This article aims to revisit discourse theory and bring it into the realm of Media Studies. A necessary condition to enhance discourse theory’s applicability in Media Studies is the re-articulation of discourse theory into discourse theoretical analysis (DTA). DTA’s claim for legitimacy is supported in this article by two lines of argument. Firstly, a comparison with Critical Discourse Analyses (CDA) at the textual and contextual level allow us to flesh out the similarities — and more importantly — the differences between CDA and DTA. Secondly, DTA’s applicability is demonstrated by putting it to work in a case study, which focuses on the articulation of audience participation through televisional practices. Both lines of argument aim to illustrate the potential, the adaptability and the legitimacy of DTA’s move into media studies.


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