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Helga A. Welsh

Characterized by a highly complex and segmented decision-making structure and strong conventions and values, German higher education was long considered impervious to significant change. In recent years, several initiatives demonstrate both the resistance to, and prospects for, profound reforms. This article focuses on two such endeavors: the establishment of junior professorships and the introduction of general tuition fees. Both policies aim to break ironclad traditions—in the first case, the entry qualification for professorships; in the second, the principle of free education. The discourse surrounding the establishment of these initiatives has emphasized performance and competition. The new advocacy coalitions and their opponents, however, use different frames to interpret these terms. The battle of ideas and policies regarding a reconfigured academic hierarchy has been shaped by stakeholders in the scientific community, with political actors taking a secondary role. On the other hand, the discourse surrounding the introduction of tuition fees reverses this order, with political actors taking the prominent role. Discourse patterns and involvement of political parties matter. The analysis reveals the competing rhetorical and policy frames that support policy diversity. Policy change adds to, rather than eliminates, existing structures.

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Eunike Piwoni

There seems to be a wide consensus in the academic community that the Holocaust is gradually losing significance in the German public. This development is clearly reflected in public elite discourse on national identity, where “Holocaust-centered memory” has ceased to be hegemonic. In the literature, several interpretations and reasons have been presented to explain this development. This paper contributes to the debate by arguing that the declining presence of Holocaust-centered arguments in intellectual elite discourse on national identity is due to a new consensual idea of German nationhood. Based on an event-oriented discourse analysis of more than 800 articles in opinion-leading newspapers, journals and magazines covering a period of more than twenty years, I argue that in national identity discourse, the Holocaust has never been—as is usually assumed—a blockade to displays of national identity in general, but only to a specific interpretation of the German nation as a Volk and as an exclusionist culture nation. By contrast, the idea of nationhood that dominates in the German public sphere today, the civic nation model, has never invoked Holocaust-centered counter-arguments—not even in the Historikerstreit in the 1980s. Thus, over the past three decades, the way national identity discourse has operated might have changed less than had often been assumed. The central argument of this paper is that the Holocaust has become a “latent”—but not a less consequential—argumentative resource.

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Will Gartside

Torture porn's crowning achievements, as identified by Gregory A. Burris (2010), are the Saw and Hostel series. He argues that the Saw series represents a puritanical mind-set running amok, while the Hostel movies reflect a culture struggling to come to terms with the horrors of Abu Ghraib. This article challenges this position. It identifies thematic patterns within the Saw and Hostel films to demonstrate how the images of violence on display throughout both series tend to reinforce, rather than subvert, the popularly held belief that the Abu Ghraib scandal represented mere abuse, as opposed to torture. The article shows how these films trivialize and rationalize torture and the roles that sex and gender play in this process.

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Liz Morrish and Helen Sauntson

This special issue sets out to investigate a number of areas of concern, regarding gender and sexuality, which are identifiable in the current British higher education environment. We argue that current dominant 'neoliberal' discourses, which emphasise the commodification of higher education in the U.K., function to set limits upon 'equality'. While these discourses often suggest a widening of opportunities within higher education, with an emphasis upon unlimited individual freedom and choice, the lived experience can be rather different for women and sexual minorities. This issue explores the impact such discourses are having upon gender and sexuality identities and practices in the academy.

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Regards croisés

La presse frontiste face aux mouvements des « sans » dans les années 1990

Frédéric Royall

This article considers the ways that elements of the far-right press in France have dealt with the emergence of groups representing marginalized people—the unemployed, undocumented workers, the badly housed—during the 1990s. The first part considers the ideological leanings of the main far-right political group—the National Front—and of its press. The final part of the article analyzes the press's discourse on marginalized people and considers the political significance of such discourse.

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Beyond the Discourse of Sexualization

An Inquiry into the Adultification of Tween Girls’ Dressing in Singapore

Bernice Loh

after adults. Because scholarship on adultification and on tween girls in Singapore remains scarce, I begin by surveying extant literature on the discourse of sexualization. Authors like Taylor (2010) and Duschinsky (2013) have stressed the need to

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William Dodd

This article reports on contemporary debates in Germany on the extensive use of English in Germans' use of German. In particular, it focuses on the debate held at the University of Birmingham between Professor Jürgen Schiewe and Thomas Paulwitz on the question: “The influence of English on German today: Grounds for concern?” The rise of a nationalist discourse on language since the mid-1990s is traced with particular reference to the Verein Deutsche Sprache and the quarterly publication Deutsche Sprachwelt. The purist position represented by Paulwitz, editor of Deutsche Sprachwelt, and opposed by Schiewe, Professor of German Philology at the University of Greifswald, is found to represent a discourse on national identity that fails to engage with modern linguistic science.

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Derek Hook

There can be little doubt that discourse analysis has come to represent something of a ‘growth industry’ in the critical social sciences. Indeed, there has been, together with a proliferation of the various models of the process of discourse analysis (cf. Bannister 1995; Fairclough 1995; Parker 1992; Potter & Wetherell 1987) a veritable explosion of discursive analytic work. This almost unfettered expansion of discursive analytic work has led almost inevitably to a variety of misapplications of the work of Michel Foucault, whose name is often attached, almost as matter of course, to varieties of discourse analysis.

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Robert Darnton

The article critically explores the different paths chosen by closely related historical disciplines: intellectual history and the history of books. While the former has focused on discourse analysis, the latter has given more attention to the study of diffusion. Historians who study the diffusion of books commonly run into a difficulty: the best-sellers of the past may serve as an indicator of public taste, but they may also be trivial, and they do not necessarily lead to explanations of important events such as the Reformation and the French Revolution. On the other hand, discourse analysis is confined to a narrow band of textual evidence, and thus cannot provide much insight on the values and views of ordinary people caught up in the patterns of everyday life. The author concludes by discussing how the history of books, particularly the history of reading and the history of publishing, can have important implications for the study of discourse.

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Discourse of Decline

Local Perspectives on Magic in Highland Jambi, Indonesia

J. David Neidel

Scholarly studies of magic, sorcery, and witchcraft have differed in their conclusions about the empirical efficacy of such practices and the persistence of related concepts. Often marginalized in these accounts, however, are local commentaries that address those same issues. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in the highland Jambi region of central Sumatra, this article examines magical practices found in the region, the modes through which they are acquired, and connections to a set of ethereal beings that lie at the source of those supernatural abilities. While the belief in and practice of magical powers remain widespread, there exists a general 'discourse of decline'. This article analyzes several elements of that discourse, particularly declining potency, practice, relevance, and believability, showing where local perspectives converge and diverge with those that underlie alternative scholarly frameworks.