Fissures in the discourse-scape: Critique, rationality and validity in post-foundational approaches to CDS
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/14212
This article explores one challenge facing critical discourse studies (CDS) in today’s mediatised world: the ontological and epistemological assumptions which prompt studies to analyse the construction of social orders (such as right-wing, racist or neoliberal orders) rather than the fissures and dislocations of these social orders. The former foregrounds stability, and the latter foregrounds instability. In this article, I first sketch postfoundational thinking, arguing that this thinking brings breakdown, disruption and instability to the centre of attention. Although postfoundational thought is most prominently associated with a particular set of thinkers (Nancy, Lefort, Laclau and Rancière), I also include approaches often omitted from current discussions (Lather, Haraway, Malabou and Sedgwick). Second, I consider three central concepts in CDS from a postfoundational perspective: critique, rationality and validity. Critique is conceptualised as a generative criticality which addresses unequal power relations through (fine-grained) analysis of hope-giving, reparative discourse which is oriented to well-being. Rationality is positioned as mobile, contingent, political and positioned, rather than universal and non-subjective. Validity is separated from understandings of objectivity and bias and associated instead with surprise and transgressive validities. Finally, two brief examples illustrate how postfoundational approaches to discourse have engaged with reframing social movements and democracy and rethinking what counts as the economy.