The Causal Power of Discourse

This paper outlines a realist approach to the social ontology of discourse. It seeks to synthesise some elements of the approach to discourse found in the early work of Michel Foucault with a critical realist understanding of the causal power of social structures. It will argue that discursive structures can be causally significant when they are normatively endorsed and enforced by specific groups of people; that it is not discourse as such but these groups—discursive circles—that are causally effective; and that such an account allows us to reconcile the role of discourse with that of the subject
Keywords Foucault  social ontology  critical realism  discourse  norm circles
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2010.00449.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Dave Elder-vass (2007). For Emergence: Refining Archer's Account of Social Structure. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (1):25–44.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Dave Elder‐Vass (2014). Debate: Seven Ways to Be A Realist About Language. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 44 (3):249-267.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Ricardo Maliandi (1999). Principios de Equidad Discursiva. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1:83-93.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

36 ( #89,993 of 1,725,606 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #93,214 of 1,725,606 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.