1887
Approaches to grammar for interactional linguistics
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238

Abstract

Facing a crucial leap from political philosophy to empirical analysis, the approach to discourse analysis that arose in the aftermath of Laclau and Mouffe (1985), and that is currently known as the Essex school of discourse theory (DT), has in recent years repeatedly been accused of suffering from a methodological deficit. This paper examines to what extent membership categorization analysis (MCA), a branch of ethnomethodology that investigates lay actors’ situated descriptions-in-context as practical activity, can play a part in rendering poststructuralist DT notions such as and analytically tangible in empirically observable discourse. Based on a review of Laclau and Mouffe’s foundational text as well as on Glynos and Howarth’s recent exposition of the framework (2007), it is argued that MCA empirically substantiates many poststructuralist claims about the indeterminacy of signification. However, MCA consistently falters - and willingly so - at the point where DT would articulate emerging equivalences between identity categories as part of a second-order explanatory concept, such as Glynos and Howarth’s notion of . Nevertheless, MCA also contains the kernel of an “endogenous” notion of the political that comes fairly close to DT’s all-pervasive understanding of the concept. To support these arguments, a variety of empirical sources are mobilized, ranging from the transcript of a political talk show, a newspaper report regarding a discrimination case in a dance class, to data drawn from earlier research on the way that minority members are treated by the Belgian criminal justice system.

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/content/journals/10.1075/prag.23.3.03hon
2013-01-01
2019-10-14
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