What I’m Reading: Political Discourse Analysis


I am currently studying Religion in Peace and Conflict Studies at Uppsala University. As part of the literature course, our professor has asked us to write a bibliographical review of sources that we may use for our thesis. I have chosen to write my thesis on media and its effect on immigration policy. Therefore, I will be reviewing articles and books that focus mostly on the refugee crisis sparked in part by the Arab Spring movement in 2011.

Isabela and Norman Fairclough collaborated on Political Discourse Analysis: A Method for Advanced Studentsa new theory of discourse analysis that looks at politics as a deliberative method of creating action and not just a moral stance (Fairclough and Fairclough 2013).

Politics have become a major part of deciding how the world works. In Western, democratic governments, politics has been overtaken by the wishes of powerful people over the minority (Fairclough and Fairclough 2013); many times, decisions are made for expediency’s sake.  However, deliberative politics “involves weighing reasons in favour of one or several proposals and reasons against” (Fairclough and Fairclough 2013: 26). This may seem as though it is happening in democratic societies, but it is often difficult to do so and so, quick decisions take precedence over deliberative ones.

Fairclough and Fairclough argue that deliberative political decisions are only achieved when it “involves the participation of all those who will be affected by the decision,” which in turn “makes decisions legitimate and binding” (2013: 30).

Political discourse analysis is important for my thesis because it is important to see how political speech directly affects society, especially the speech during the refugee crisis and the Arab Spring movement directly before it.

photo: John Hain

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