Poststructuralist Discourse Studies: From Structure to Practice

Angermuller, Johannes (2020). Poststructuralist Discourse Studies: From Structure to Practice. In: de Fina, Anna and Georgakopoulou, Alexandra eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Discourse Studies. Cambridge University Press, pp. 235–254.



Poststructuralism has brought social, cultural and political theories into a productive exchange with methods and tools for analyzing text and talk. My contribution outlines the contours of poststructuralist discourse studies (PDS), which is an interdisciplinary field of discourse research inspired by poststructuralism. It gives an overview of poststructuralism, tracing its evolution and identifying its key questions. I then spell out the consequences of poststructuralism for discourse studies, where it has given birth to the new field of PDS. PDS critically relates to the structuralist, top-down tendencies that have characterized some of the pioneering “French School” and “Critical” strands in discourse studies. It defends posthumanist and antiessentialist views on power and knowledge. Perceiving language as a socially constitutive practice, it places emphasis on the critical and reflexive dimensions of discourse research. Situated at the interdisciplinary intersection of language and society, PDS aims to bridge structure- and practice-oriented strands of discourse research and to overcome the divisions between linguistics and other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.

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