The creation of knowledge and discourse is integral to modern society and is no longer the preserve of scientific institutions such as universities. Political institutions are being established which have the explicit purpose of producing meaning and language; spin-doctors shape "knowledge" to sway public opinion; while business and industry is taking on the "management of meaning". All influence how we understand our society and shape political agendas. More than ever, therefore, we need to be able to step back and question the production of meaning. This textbook attempts to fill a gap in the growing area of discourse analysis within the social sciences. It provides the analytical tools with which students and their teachers can understand the complex and often conflicting discourses across a range of social science disciplines. Examining the theories of Foucault, Koselleck, Laclau and Luhmann, the book focuses on the political and social aspects of their writing; discusses and combines their theories to suggest new analytical strategies for understanding society; and combines theory with practical illustrations.
Niels Akerstrom Andersen is Professor of Political Management at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School.