Discourse and Democracy: Critical Analysis of the Language of Government, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Discourse and Democracy

Critical Analysis of the Language of Government, 1st Edition

By Michael Farrelly


148 pages

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In this new study, Farrelly gives a critical examination of democracy as it is conceived and practiced in contemporary advanced liberal nations. The received wisdom on democracy is probelmatized through a close analysis of discourse in combination with critical theories of democracy and of the State. The central theme of the book is the paradox of pervasive reference to democracy as a legitimation of political action by liberal governments versus the converse weakening of actual democratic practice within the liberal world. Farrelly builds on the work of Fairclough and others to examine this paradox, developing a new critical concept of "democratism" as an ideology that undermines the possibility of a more genuine democracy through political actors who oversimplify the idea of democracy. The book includes critical analyses of key political texts taken from presidential and prime ministerial speeches from the US and UK that attach democracy to non-democratic practices.


'…this book makes an important theoretical contribution to the fields of CDA and critical theories. Although discussions on democratic expressions can be widely found in previous CDA studies, this book presents a more systematic overview and a stronger theoretical orientation. For interested readers, Chapters Two and Six are highly recommended since both go beyond empirical observations and engage with the concept of democracy in synthesized and theoretical manners, shining a spotlight on topics that have so far received less attention and adding valuable elements to the existing literature.' - Sibo Chen, Simon Fraser University, The LINGUIST List

“In a context of democratic turmoil in Western states, this book offers a timely and thought-provoking contribution to debates about democracy. Through the concept of Democratism, Farrelly shows us how the very language of democracy acts as an impediment to democratic action.” - Jane Mulderrig, School of English, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Table of Contents

1. The Paradox of Contemporary Democracy 2. Representing Which Democracy? 3. Analysing Democracy in Texts 4. Representing Democracy in National Practices of Government Politics 5. Representing Democracy and Enacting Forums in City Practices of Government 6. Ideology and Democracy

About the Author

Michael Farrelly is Lecturer in English Language at the University of Hull, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Discourse

Routledge Critical Studies in Discourse publishes high quality original research monographs broadly in the area of critical discourse studies. It seeks theoretically innovative and empirically rigorous research that advances our critical understanding of the interrelations of discourse and social processes, including all aspects of power relations (such as maintenance and perpetuation of dominance; negotiations of power and resistance; as well as solidarity formations for group empowerment). The series supports interdisciplinary research, and welcomes investigations of new topics, domains, issues, frameworks and methods, as well as fresh perspectives on established ones, from a variety of international and cultural contexts. A broad understanding of "discourse" is adopted in the series to include systematic and explicit analyses of spoken/written language and other modes of semiosis (e.g. visual images, sounds, gestures and actions).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General