The Open UniversitySkip to content

Truth after post-truth: for a Strong Programme in Discourse Studies

Angermuller, Johannes (2018). Truth after post-truth: for a Strong Programme in Discourse Studies. Palgrave Communications, 4(1) pp. 1–8.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (409kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Contemporary post-truth discourses put the constructivist foundations of Discourse Studies to a test. According to critical observers, discourse analysts have been playing into the hands of Trump, Brexit and right-wing populists by politicising scientific knowledge and undermining the idea of scientific truth. In order to respond to these concerns, this article outlines a Strong Programme in Discourse Studies. While the Strong Programme insists on truths as discursive constructions, in no way does it claim that all ideas have the same truth value or that an idea can become true because somebody wants it to be true. The Strong Programme makes the case for discourse research that is constructivist (it asks how truths are constructed practically) without being relativist (all ideas do not have the same normative quality). Taking inspiration from debates in Science and Technology Studies of the 1970s, the Strong Programme formulates principles for discourse researchers dealing with conflicting truth claims. Discourse analytical explanations of truths of first-order participants and of second-order observers should be symmetrical, heterogeneous, multi-perspectival and reflexive. The Strong Programme discourse research is grounded in the founding traditions of ?French? and ?Critical? Discourse Studies, which have struggled over questions of truth and reality since the beginning. While critically interrogating the structuralist heritage of these strands, the Strong Programme insists on the practices of making and unmaking ideas through language use no matter whether they appear as true or false to participants and observers. Discourse Studies are encouraged to critically reflect on how hierarchies between knowledges are not only represented but, through their representation, also constituted through discursive practices.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 The Author
Keywords: Populism; political discourse; academic discourse; critique; science and technology studies
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics > Languages
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 60827
Depositing User: Johannes Angermuller
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 13:21
Last Modified: 08 May 2019 09:33
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU