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This chapter examines sustainable development, an integrating discourse covering environmental issues from the local to the global, as well as a host of economic and development concerns. Sustainable development is different from Promethean discourse because it requires coordinated collective efforts to achieve goals, rather than relying on human spontaneity and ingenuity. It is also different from environmental problem solving discourses because it is much more imaginative in its reconceptualization of the terms of environmental dispute and in its dissolution of some long-standing conflicts. After explaining what sustainable development is, the chapter provides a historical background on the concept. It then considers the discourse analysis of sustainable development and concludes by reflecting on the prospects for the success or failure of sustainable development.

Chapter

Discourse Analysis  

Breaking Down Ideational Boundaries in the Social Sciences

Elisa Narminio and Caterina Carta

This chapter describes discourse analysis. In linguistics, discourse is generally defined as a continuous expression of connected written or spoken language that is larger than a sentence. However, as a method in the social sciences, discourse analysis (DA) gave rise to diatribes about where to set the borders of discourse. As language constitutes the very entry point to the world, some discourse analysts argue that all that exists acquires meaning through language. Does this mean that discourse constitutes reality? Is there anything outside text and discourse? Or is discourse one among many means of social construction? The evolution of DA in social science unearths an ontological debate between ‘realists’ and ‘nominalists’, which eventually reverberates in epistemological strategies.

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This chapter discusses the principles of textual analysis as a means of gathering information and evidence in political research. Textual analysis has generated strong interest as a research method not only in Politics and International Relations, but also throughout the social sciences. In political research, two forms of textual analysis have become particularly prominent: discourse analysis and content analysis. The chapter examines discourse analysis and content analysis and explains the use of documents, archival sources, and historical writing as data. It considers the distinction between discourse analysis and content analysis, as well as the differences between qualitative and quantitative content analysis. It also describes the procedures that are involved in both quantitative and qualitative content analysis.

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This chapter discusses the principles of textual analysis as a means of gathering information and evidence in political research. Textual analysis has generated strong interest as a research method not only in Politics and International Relations, but also throughout the social sciences. In political research, two forms of textual analysis have become particularly prominent: discourse analysis and content analysis. The chapter examines discourse analysis and content analysis and explains the use of documents, archival sources, and historical writing as data. It considers the distinction between discourse analysis and content analysis, as well as the differences between qualitative and quantitative content analysis. It also describes the procedures that are involved in both quantitative and qualitative content analysis.

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This edition examines the politics of the Earth through reference to discourses based on the argument that language matters, that the way we construct, interpret, discuss, and analyze environmental problems has all kinds of consequences. The goal is to elucidate the basic structure of the discourses that have dominated recent environmental politics, and to present their history, conflicts, and transformations. The text discusses four basic environmental discourses: environmental problem solving, limits and survival, sustainability, and green radicalism. This introduction provides an overview of the changing terms of environmental politics, questions to ask about discourses, the differences that discourses make, and the uses of discourse analysis.

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Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne

This text examines the dynamics that shape foreign policy using international relations (IR) theory. Combining theories and case studies with actors, it explores the grand principles at work in foreign policy, both as a form of state behaviour and as an intellectual field. Chapters illustrate the complementarity between individual, state, and structural dynamics of IR, and levels of analysis found in foreign policy analysis. They discuss the relevance to foreign policy of the main IR theories: realism, liberalism, and constructivism, alongside the tool of discourse analysis. This introduction provides an overview of the contemporary relevance of the study of foreign policy; some of the definitional issues concerning the study of foreign policy; and the book’s updated organization.

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This chapter examines ecological modernization, a discourse that addresses the restructuring of the capitalist political economy along more environmentally defensible lines. At one level ecological modernization is about the search for green production technology, and especially clean energy. However, this search also opens the door to intriguing possibilities for more intensive transformation, involving political change as well as technological change. So although at first sight ecological modernization looks like a rescue mission for industrial society, albeit an imaginative one, it also points to political and economic possibilities beyond industrial society. The central assumption of ecological modernization is that the capitalist political economy needs conscious reconfiguring and far-sighted action so that economic development and environmental protection can proceed hand-in-hand and reinforce one another. The chapter first explains the idea of ecological modernization before discussing its discourse analysis. It concludes with some remarks on the future of ecological modernization.

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This chapter focuses on the environmental discourse of limits and survival and how it set the apocalyptic horizon of environmentalism. Population biologists and ecologists use the concept of ‘carrying capacity’ — the maximum population of a species that an ecosystem can support in perpetuity. When the population of a species grows to the point where carrying capacity is exceeded, the ecosystem is degraded and the population crashes, recovering only if and when natural processes restore the ecosystem to its previous capacity. One complicating factor when it comes to applying population biology to human societies is the possibility of economic growth. The chapter first considers the origins of survivalism before discussing the political philosophy of survival, discourse analysis of limits and survival, and limits and survival in practice. It also examines the challenges confronting the limits discourse, including the lack of international action on climate change.

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This chapter focuses on the basic principles of research design. It first considers different types of research design, including experimental designs, cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, comparative designs, and historical research designs. It also discusses two types of research validity: internal validity and external validity. The chapter proceeds by describing various methods of data collection and the sort of data or evidence each provides, including questionnaires and surveys, interviewing and focus groups, ethnographic research, and discourse/content analysis. Finally, it examines six issues that must be taken into account to ensure ethical research: voluntary participation, informed consent, privacy, harm, exploitation, and consequences for future research.

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This chapter examines the use of discourse analysis in the study of foreign policy. In the study of international relations, discourse analysis is associated with post-structuralism, a theoretical approach that shares realism’s concern with states and power, but differs from realism’s assumption that states are driven by self-interest. It also takes a wider view of power than realists normally do. Post-structuralism draws upon, but also challenges, realism’s three core assumptions: groupism, egoism, and power-centrism. The chapter first considers the theoretical principles that inform post-structuralist discourse analysis before discussing the research designs and methodological techniques employed by discourse analysts. It also offers examples and four learning boxes featuring mini-case studies and locates poststructuralist discourse analysis within the field of foreign policy analysis. Finally, it assesses the strengths and weaknesses of post-structuralist discourse analysis.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the basic principles of research design. It first considers different types of research design, including experimental designs, cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, comparative designs, and historical research designs. It also discusses two types of research validity: internal validity and external validity. The chapter proceeds by describing various methods of data collection and the sort of data or evidence each provides, including questionnaires and surveys, interviewing and focus groups, ethnographic research, and discourse/content analysis. Finally, it examines six issues that must be taken into account to ensure ethical research: voluntary participation, informed consent, privacy, harm, exploitation, and consequences for future research.

Chapter

This chapter examines a category of green radicalism that focuses on green consciousness. The stress on green consciousness means that the way people experience and regard the world in which they live, and each other, is the key to green change. Once consciousness has changed in an appropriate direction, then policies, social structures, institutions, and economic systems are expected to fall into place. This prioritization of consciousness is widespread in the green movement, among deep ecologists, bioregionalists, ecofeminists, ecotheologists, and lifestyle greens, among others. The chapter begins with a discussion of deep ecology, ecofeminism, bioregionalism, ecological citizenship, lifestyle greens, and ecotheology. It then considers romanticism, the discourse analysis of green consciousness, and the impact of green consciousness change. Finally, it highlights the challenges confronting green consciousness.

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This chapter examines democratic pragmatism, a discourse of environmental problem solving that emerged as a corrective to administration. Democratic pragmatism may be characterized in terms of interactive problem solving within the basic institutional structure of liberal capitalist democracy. The word ‘pragmatism’ can have two connotations: the first is the way the word is used in everyday language, as signifying a practical, realistic orientation to the world, the opposite of starry-eyed idealism; the second refers to a school of thought in philosophy, associated with names such as William James, Charles Peirce, and John Dewey. This chapter treats democracy as a problem-solving discourse reconciled to the basic status quo of liberal capitalism. It first considers democratic pragmatism in action before discussing democratic pragmatism as government and governance. It also explores the rationality of democratic pragmatism, the discourse analysis of democratic pragmatism, and the limits of democratic pragmatism.

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This chapter examines economic rationalism, a discourse of environmental problem solving which builds on its advances in all areas of political life to generate alternatives to and remedies for the pathologies it identifies in both administration and liberal democratic governance. Economic rationalism may be defined by its commitment to the intelligent deployment of market mechanisms to achieve public ends. It differs from administrative rationalism in its hostility to environmental management by government administrators — except in establishing the basic parameters of designed markets. The chapter first considers the issue of privatization and private property rights before discussing less radical strands that stress market incentives but not necessarily private property. It also describes the discourse analysis of economic rationalism and concludes with an assessment of the limitations of economic rationalism, including its treatment of government.

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This chapter examines administrative rationalism, a discourse of environmental problem solving which captures the dominant governmental response to the onset of environmental crisis. Administrative rationalism emphasizes the role of the expert rather than the citizen or producer/consumer in social problem solving, and which stresses social relationships of hierarchy rather than equality or competition. The chapter first considers the manifestations of administrative rationalism in various institutions and practices, including environmental impact assessment, planning, and rationalistic policy analysis techniques, before discussing the discourse analysis of administrative rationalism. It then explains the justification of administrative rationalism and problems of administrative rationalism, caused in part by its association with bureaucracy. It also explores the implications of the transition from government to governance for administrative rationalism.

Chapter

Ole Wæver

This chapter examines discourse analysis as an approach to the study of European integration. It first provides an overview of the basic idea(s) underlying discourse analysis before tracing its philosophical roots. It then considers when and how discourse analysis entered political science, international relations, and European integration studies. It also explores three examples of bodies of work that have each operationalized discourse analysis in a particular way in order to make it speak to European integration: the first covers governance and political struggle; the second approach posits the configuration of concepts of nation, state, and Europe as the basis for building theory of discourse as layered structures able to explain foreign policy options for a given state; and the third focuses on the project of European integration as a productive paradox. The chapter concludes by discussing the application of discourse analysis to the nature of the European Union enlargement process.

Chapter

This chapter considers a category of green radicalism that focuses on green politics. Green radicalism is about political change targeted at social structures and institutions as well as consciousness change. This more overtly political emphasis is advanced by a number of movements and schools of thought whose degree of radicalism varies from eco-anarchists to ‘realo’ greens. The chapter begins with a discussion of different types of green politics, including green parties, social ecology, transition towns and new materialism, red and green, environmental justice, and environmentalism of the global poor. It also considers the antiglobalization movement, global justice, the Occupy Movement, and radical summits, as well as the discourse analysis of green politics. Finally, it looks at green politics in practice and emphasizes the uncertainty about the best way to practice green politics in the face of a seemingly recalcitrant and secure liberal capitalist political economy.