Accumulating discursive capital, valuating subject positions. From Marx to Foucault

Angermuller, Johannes (2018). Accumulating discursive capital, valuating subject positions. From Marx to Foucault. Critical Discourse Studies, 15(4) pp. 414–425.



Whenever people use language, they participate in valuation practices, i.e. they give value to themselves as well as to others. To account for the construction of social inequality through discursive valuation practices, discourse theorists need Marxist theory and Marxists need discourse theory. By going from the early Marx to the late Foucault, I will revisit Marx?s value theory in light of practice-oriented approaches to social inequality. I will discuss examples from two distinct arenas, the monopolization of attention by populist leaders and the academic star system, both of which are accounted for in terms of the accumulation of discursive capital. This perspective asks how the value of subject positions is constructed and hierarchies between them are established in discursive practices. Investigating the construction of valuable subject positions in discourse communities, this perspective attempts to overcome the traditional division between language, the economic and the social. Discourse not only represents value and the social order but, through representation, it also contributes to constituting the social as a hierarchical world of more or less valued subject positions.

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