Re: discourse

This discussion is most interesting. I am working on a dissertation which
tries to use a Foucauldian inspired analysis for a fresh look on British
ideas on European legitimacy. It seems quite obvious to me that this
discourse implies power in a quite material sense and is pervaded by such
power. Is it, however, possible to explore this discourse outside the medium
of language? Sure, there are extradiscursive elements having an effect on
how, let's say, the predominant portion of the Conservatives conceptualises
legitimacy through economic output. But how can we get close to them? We
simply can't. We have to read them and, in doing so, construct them. To give
language and texts (where I would include such things as symbols and what is
counted as symbol in a specific context) a conceptual priority does not mean
that these are somehow constitutive of reality. But they are, in a sense,
constitutive of our knowldege of reality. This, btw, is where ontology and
epistemology cannot be separated anymore. (I should admit at this point that
I am not too familiar with Butler's work, but I have been struggling with
this for some time now...) Any comments?

Best wishes,

Thomas Diez
Mannheim Centre for European Social Research
Mannheimer Zentrum fuer Europaeische Sozialforschung
D-68131 Mannheim
Tel. ++49-(0)621-292-8465
Fax. ++49-(0)621-292-8435

Partial thread listing: