Realism, discourse, and deconstruction

New York: Routledge (2004)
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Abstract

Theories of discourse bring to realism new ideas about how knowledge develops and how representations of reality are influenced. We gain an understanding of the conceptual aspect of social life and the processes by which meaning is produced. This collection reflects the growing interest realist critics have shown towards forms of discourse theory and deconstruction. The diverse range of contributions address such issues as the work of Derrida and deconstruction, discourse theory, Eurocentrism and poststructuralism. What unites all of the contributions is a sense that it is essential to provide a realist alternative to the hitherto dominance of social constructionism, hermeneutics and postmodernism, over many of the issues discussed. By developing a realist perspective the different authors attempt to embed discourse within the structured nature of the reality of the world. Realism can situate language, discourse and ideology within context specific, or 'causally efficacious' circumstances. Realism can help to uncover issues of power, representation, and subjectivity and how discursive and other social practices produce real effects. This can help us understand the manner in which social structures are reproduced through various forms of ideology and discourse. And by knowing this, we can start to address questions concerning human emancipation and how the world is to be transformed.

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