Heterogeneous knowledge: Trends in German discourse analysis against an international background

Angermuller, Johannes (2011). Heterogeneous knowledge: Trends in German discourse analysis against an international background. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 6(2) pp. 121–136.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17447143.2011.582117

Abstract

This contribution maps the complex field of discourse analysis in Germany by situating its major currents and putting them in historical perspective. In a first step, it presents the major intellectual sources, such as (post-)structuralism, pragmatism/interactionism as well as hermeneutics, which have served as a backdrop for the establishment of discourse analysis as an interdisciplinary field since the 1980s. In a second step, it takes a closer look at the intellectual conjunctures in the social sciences such as Critical Theory and systems theory before turning to the discourse analytical tendencies that have emerged since the 1980s in the light of Foucault's reception in Germany. Finally, it discusses the features of heterogeneous knowledge discourses. As against top-down studies of political discourse in France and bottom-up investigations of everyday discourse in the US, many discourse analysts in Germany focus on knowledge production as a multi-leveled process involving texts and contexts. Therefore, discourse is seen as a heterogeneous object constructed in the interplay of language, praxis and knowledge.

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