November 14, 2013
Political Science 3N06
Political Science 3N06 2013 Lecture 9c Unobtrusive methods (discourse analysis)
- External validity
- Internal validity
- Field / etc. experiment
o Issues that arise
o Demonstrate that it is understood
- Field work studies
o Role that will be occupied
o Depending upon the specifics of the research being carried out
Quantitative Content Analysis is useful for revealing the manifest content of text
- However, some question whether it is effective at penetrating into the deeper meanings of a textual
archive – both textual and social
o What does Content analysis tell us about the society in which the text was produced?
o What does it tell us about why these attitudes dominate an archive?
o What does it say about How possible – how are these specific attitudes possible given the
variety of possible attitudes/opinions that could have existed?
IN OTHER WORDS HOW DOES A TEXT RELATE TO ITS SOCIAL CONTEXT ?
- In this light, an alternative approach to analysing text is discourse analysis
- “At stake is the discursive structures that make certain kinds of representations and practices
possible and – for many – plausible, not the mere frequency of particular words or their
patterns in the representations themselves (Laffey and Weldes)”
- ** There are different types of discourse analysis - types that are informed by different theories
and even different underlying epistemologies
o There are Positivist, Marxist, Critical, and Post-structuralist variants
o Each implies a slightly different technique
o There are differences in terms of how texts are viewed.
- Looking at: Nevertheless, there are some commonalities (bearing in mind that there is a continuum
on these issues)
1. DISCOURSE ANALYSIS IS NOT JUST CONCERNED WITH WORDS ON A PAGE
- When we looked at content (content was about treating the text in isolation: needs to be sucked out
from the archive, no attempt to relate this text to the outside world)
- A text must be analysed in terms of the broader social context
o A context that helps to produce its meaning
- The context of a document‟s, creation, distribution, and reception, must be considered
o How is this possible? Why did this happen?
Need to look at the broader social environment!
The social context of the production of the meaning, of the dissemination of the
meaning and the effect on the larger social world.
- Can‟t understand the one without understanding the other!
2. REALITY IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED (A CONTINUUM OF POSITIONS HERE )
- Discourse is not just a passive record of what was – it also helps to actively determine what is
1 November 14, 2013
Political Science 3N06
- The texts affects the social context
o The social world is in part a product of a discourse that talks about the social world;
o Discourse, is not just a record of what was;
o Discourse has to determine what is!
o How do we act? Why do we act? We do what we do because of the ideas we have on the
People are motived to act on the basis of beliefs about the world
o Beliefs motivate action which creates lived reality
Social objects themselves are discursive products (again there is a continuum on this issue)
o The STATE
o Things that create the (state); not that the state causes them!
o Discourse has an ontological effect; it helps to bring certain things into being. Constitution
of the social environment and the textual environment!
- They have no stability or essence, other than the tenuous illusion of essence created by symbols and
o i.e. discourses construct the reality they describe
- The goal of discours