Official discourse and political change in Ireland

Katy Hayward

in Irish Nationalism and European Integration

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780719072789
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702369 | DOI:
Official discourse and political change in Ireland

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This chapter explains the theoretical and methodological framework for this research, both in relation to the key tenets of discourse theory and to the empirical content of the analysis. It begins by considering the meaning of ‘discourse’ as language, practice, and context. Its multidimensional meaning and function means that discourse analysis has particular value in the study of nationalism and political change. The chapter then provides an overview of other studies in the areas of nationalism and European integration which have used discourse theory and analysis, focusing on the case of Northern Ireland. The articulation of discourse in texts offers a means by which the processes at work in a particular context can be analysed. The relationship between politics and discourse emanates from the function of discourse in the social world and, therefore, works in two interconnected ways: politics as a product of discourse and politics as a determinant of discourse. Nation-statehood is traditionally conceptualised in official discourse as primarily important in the three thematic areas of identity, borders and governance.

Keywords: discourse theory; discourse analysis; European integration; nationalism; Northern Ireland; politics; nation-statehood; political change; identity; borders

Chapter.  8257 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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