Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

discourse theory Related Abstracts

2 Anti-Intellectualism in Populist Discourse and Its Role in Identity Construction: A Comparative Study between the United States of America and France

Authors: Iuliana-Erika Köpeczi

Abstract:

‘Language is no longer regarded as peripheral to our grasp of the world we live in, but as central to it. Words are not mere vocal labels or communicational adjuncts superimposed upon an already given order of things. They are collective products of social interaction, essential instruments through which human beings constitute and articulate their world’, said Roy Harris. If we were to accept the above-mentioned premise, then we surely must accept that discourse, generally, - and political discourse, specifically -, bears a crucial importance to one’s perception of reality. The way in which political rhetoric constructs reality changes the relationship between the voter and his/her view of the world, which, in turn, influences greatly the future trends of political participation. In this context, our inquiry focuses on the role of populist discourses in the post 9/11 political rhetoric, and how this led to the formation, construction and reconstruction of identity within the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ dichotomy. It is our hypothesis that anti-intellectualistic elements played a significant role in the manner in which identity construction had been carried out on a discursive level. By adopting a comparative approach, we intend to identify the similarities and differences between the use of such anti-intellectualist elements in the United States of America on one hand – within the discourse of Rick Santorum, – and France on the other – with Marine le Pen’s discourse. Our methodological approach uses close textual analysis of primary source material (discourse analysis); historical contextualization of both primary documents and broader socio-political and cultural framework through archival research and secondary sources; as well as interpretation of primary texts through theoretical frameworks (qualitative research). We hope that the output of our endeavor will be useful in better understanding the different correlations that exist between anti-intellectualism and populism and how the interactions between these two elements aids in political identity construction through discourse.

Keywords: Populism, France, identity construction, anti-intellectualism, discourse theory, United States of America

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1 A Theory-Based Analysis on Implications of Democracy in Cambodia

Authors: Puthsodary Tat

Abstract:

Democracy has been categorially accepted and used as foreign and domestic policy agendas for the hope of peace, economic growth and prosperity for more than 25 years in Cambodia. However, the country is now in the grip of dictatorship, human rights violations, and prospective economic sanctions. This paper examines different perceptions and experiences of democratic assistance. In this study, the author employs discourse theory, idealism and realism as a theory-based methodology for debating and assessing the implications of democratization. Discourse theory is used to establish a platform for understanding discursive formations, body of knowledge and the games of truth of democracy. Idealist approaches give rational arguments for adopting key tenets that work well on the ground. In contrast, realism allows for some sweeping critiques of utopian ideal and offers particular views on why Western hegemonic missions do not work well. From idealist views, the research finds that Cambodian people still believe that democracy is a prima facie universality for peace, growth and prosperity. From realism, democratization is on the brink of death in three reasons. Firstly, there are tensions between Western and local discourses about democratic values and norms. Secondly, democratic tenets have been undermined by the ruling party-controlled courts, corruption, structural oppression and political patronage-based institutions. The third pitfall is partly associated with foreign aid dependency and geopolitical power struggles in the region. Finally, the study offers a precise mosaic of democratic principles that may be used to avoid a future geopolitical and economic crisis.

Keywords: Democracy, Corruption, Realism, idealism, discourse theory, democratic principles, discursive formations, foreign aid dependency, games of truth, geopolitical and economic crisis, geopolitical power struggle, hegemonic mission, utopian ideal

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