The Power of Discourse, Of course!

Chapter
Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 17)

Abstract

This chapter builds on the previous chapter on ideology by explaining concepts such as discourse and hegemony from a poststructuralist perspective. Concerns around the power of discourse and hegemony are discussed in accessible ways that demonstrate how certain ideologies gain prominence, while others are dismissed. Discourse is always connected with desire and power. In this chapter, both discourse and power are explained in Foucauldian terms. Power is, therefore, conceived of as a set of social relations built seamlessly into daily relations and practices. In effect, this kind of almost invisible power acts as a social regulator in racial, class, and gender relations. Critical discourse analysis is effective in illuminating the ways in which social power is embedded in representation of text, such as in the school curriculum. Sometimes discourses come together to form discursive formations that are particularly powerful in affecting social relations. The chapter outlines the anti-liberal rhetoric in the discursive formation that helped propel George W. Bush into the White House for two terms. Hegemony refers to the ideal representation of the interests of the privileged groups as universal interests, which are then accepted by the masses as the natural order rather than as a demonstration of the construction of power along lines of race, class, and gender. Sometimes discourses arise that are counterhegemonic in that they attempt to destabilize the status quo in some way. This chapter examines the concepts of hegemony and counterhegemony mostly from a theoretical perspective that also makes a distinction between a false consciousness and a more accurate political consciousness. It explains how an individual’s social location and experiences influence their values and perceptions of others. The chapter also introduces the notion of reframing social and economic issues from various ideological perspectives.

Keywords

Aboriginal People Political Ideology Dominant Discourse Critical Discourse Analysis White Supremacy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Anyon, J. (1981). Elementary schooling and distinctions of social class. Interchange, 12(1), 118–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apple, M. W. (1989). Teachers & texts: A political economy of class & gender relations in education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Apple, M. W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge-Falmer.Google Scholar
  4. Barman, J. (1991). The west beyond the west: A history of British Columbia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beers, D. (2005). Liberalized: The Tyee report on British Columbia under Gordon Campbell’s Liberals. Vancouver: New Star Books.Google Scholar
  6. Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in capitalist America: Educational reform and the contradictions of economic life. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  7. Campbell, K., Menzies, C., & Peacock, B. (2003). BC First Nations studies. Vancouver: Pacific Educational Press, UBC; Victoria: British Columbia Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  8. Connell, R. W. (2004). Encounters with structure. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 17(1), 11–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Derrida, J. (1978). Writing & difference. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. London: Longman Group UK Limited.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, M. (1970). The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M. (1979). The history of sexuality, volume one: An introduction. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  13. Giroux, H. A. (1981). Ideology, culture, and the process of schooling. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the prison notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. New York: International.Google Scholar
  15. Grossberg, L. (1986). On postmodernism and articulation: An interview with Stuart Hall. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 10(2), 45–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lemke, J. L. (1995). Textual politics: Discourse and social dynamics. London and Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  18. Leonardo, Z. (2003). Discourse and critique: Outlines of a post-structural theory of ideology, Journal of Educational Policy, 18, 203–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Leonardo, Z. (2004). Critical social theory and transformative knowledge: The functions of criticism in quality education. Educational Researcher, 33(6), 11–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lewis, A. (2001). There is no “race” in the schoolyard: Color-blind ideology in an (almost) all-White school. American Educational Research Journal, 38, 781–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mackey, E. (2002). The house of difference: Cultural politics and national identity in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  22. Martin, L. (2003, January 23). It’s not Canadians who’ve gone to the right, just their media. The Globe & Mail, p. A8.Google Scholar
  23. Rushowy, K. (2008, January 17). School board to discuss Black-focused schools. Toronto Star, p. A1.Google Scholar
  24. Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  25. Weissman, R., & Donahue, J. (2009, January/February). Wall Street’s best investment: Ten deregulatory steps to financial meltdown. The Multinational Monitor. Retrieved on 28 January 2011, from http://www.multinationalmonitor.org
  26. Whitson, A. (1991). Post-structuralist pedagogy: Can we find the baby in the bathwater? Education and Society, 9, 73–86.Google Scholar
  27. Zizek, S. (Ed.). (1994). Mapping ideology. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Saskatchewan/SaskatoonSaskatoonCanada

Personalised recommendations