David Howarth (2000). Discourse

Cromby, John
May 2002
Forum: Qualitative Social Research;2002, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
HOWARTH's book is an accessible, readable and concise overview of theories of and approaches to discourse in the human and social sciences, focusing upon LACLAU and MOUFFE's discourse theory approach. The roots of this approach are described in structuralist and post-structuralist theories including the work of SAUSSURE, LEVI-STRAUSS, DERRIDA and FOUCAULT, as well as the MARXism of ALTHUSSER, GRAMSCI and PECHEUX. The book is mostly even-handed and the author takes great care to make his material accessible. However, critical realist alternatives to post-structuralism receive little attention and issues of agency and subjectivity remain problematic. These issues are part of the wider debate between realism and relativism, the intransigence of which is somewhat downplayed in this book. Nevertheless, HOWARTH has produced a valuable resource which should be welcomed by teachers and students in this field.


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