Why “Discourse” Matters In The Discipline Of International Relations: A Conceptual Analysis
AuthorGüleç Aras, Cansu
MetadataShow full item record
CitationGülec, C. (18-21 October 2023). “Why “Discourse” Matters in the Discipline of International Relations: A Conceptual Analysis”, 6th Politics & International Relations Congress, Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon. pp. 208-209.
The purpose of this paper is to examine how discourse is conceptualized and utilized in the discipline of International Relations. The discourses we use to understand and influence each other are used in interdisciplinary approaches in social sciences. Discourse, which is used in the meanings such as “rhetoric, speech, thesis, point of view, doctrine, argument, opinion, philosophy, type of expression, style of expression, style, pronunciation, individual language, conceptual system, sum of signs” is defined in various ways terminologically. Disciplines such as linguistics, philosophy of language, anthropology, ethnology, sociology, psychology, and political science have presented different explanations and methods about discourse. Discourse, in general terms, is interpreted as representational practices in which meanings are produced. In this sense, the idea that knowledge is separate from the social sphere is rejected, and knowledge is accepted as the founding element of reality. In fact, there are various definitions of discourse that differ from each other. As a research method, discourse analysis, which refers the meanings formed through speeches and texts, is applied in different disciplines for extensive examination. In discourse analysis, the discourses to be explored can be written texts or they can be accepted as verbal conversations. These discourses, which might be both written and verbal, should possibly be examined in their original forms. Furthermore, in discourse analysis, the place and time of the discourse, the communication between the parties of the discourse, social roles, relevant social information, norms and values, institutional structures and organizational processes are also important. As a matter of fact, individuals who use the language are always in contact with each other in their communication activities they establish as a part of groups, institutions, or cultures. In discourse analysis, which is most frequently used as a post-structural method in the discipline of International Relations, social reality is not considered independent of language and is created only through representative practices in language. Thus, in post-structural analysis, it is believed that the construction of different social realities is possible only through interpretation. The discourse that takes place in a certain political context and political culture often raises questions about a nation’s own identity within the discipline of International Relations. Examining discourse can help us understand how people see themselves and their history. As a result, with the investigation of different approaches, it can be said that post-structuralist approaches suggest a position where meaning and its underlying power structures, the importance of political subjectivities and the variability of social identities are emphasized, rather than suggesting a coherent model or theory. Post-structuralists, who challenge the analysis of objective facts that exist independently of the discursive structure, concentrate their main points on the “analysis of making meaning in discourses” as a method. Accordingly, any social “meaning” develops within the domain of discourse, which is never fixed, always changing, and often uncertain, leaving the possibility of social change open. In this context, after the concept of discourse is introduced in this study, the role of discourse in International Relations will be discussed. For understanding both common and different features, the principal discourse analysis methods will be defined, and Post-Structural Discourse Analysis will also be mentioned within this framework. In this study, which aims to understand the role and importance of discourse in the discipline, the scope and limitations towards it will also be revealed.
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