1st Edition

Discourse and Power An Introduction to Critical Narratology: Who Narrates Whom?

By Peter V. Zima Copyright 2023
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    230 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Discourse and Power: An Introduction to Critical Narratology: Who Narrates Whom? is both an introduction to discourse research and an application of the concept of discourse to the problem of power.

    Divided into two sections, Part One is a presentation of the most important theories of discourse in which the link between discourse and power or language and power is central. It provides a critical overview of the most important discourse theories: Foucault, Bourdieu, Fairclough and Greimas’s structural semiotics. In Part Two, the section on practice, the insights gained in the first part of the book are applied to analyses of particular discourses and their involvement in power relations. Ranging from psychiatric, legal, political, literary and scientific discourses, examples include the presidential speeches of Obama, Trump and Biden and the novels of Camus and Pirandello. The book demonstrates that it is possible in theoretical discourse to reduce the power factor to a minimum, improve theoretical innovation, and thus pave the way for new insights in social sciences.

    This is an important and timely text from a leading scholar, suitable for use in discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis and rhetoric courses.

    Introduction: Language and Power 


    I. How We Think and are Being Thought: From Michel Foucault to Louis Althusser and Michel Pêcheux

    II. Power and Authority in Language: Pierre Bourdieu’s Authorised Language and Jan Blomaert’s Voice

    III. “Critical Discourse Analysis”: Norman Fairclough’s Linguistic Perspective 

    IV. From Structural Semiotics to the Sociology of Texts: Discourse and Power 


    V. Who Narrates Whom? Ideology, Stigma and Narrative Control of the Subject in Luigi Pirandello and Erving Goffman

    VI. The Submission of the Subject to the Discourses of the Law: From Albert Camus’s The Outsider to Artur London’s On Trial

    VII. The Discourses of the Presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden: Modalities, Helpers and Actants

    VIII. The Power Factor in Sociological Discussions: Who Narrates Whom?

    Outlook: Power – Discourse – Fear





    Peter V. Zima was Professor of General and Comparative Literature at the Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt (Austria) until 2012. He became corr. member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Vienna) in 1998 and member of the European Academy of Sciences (London) in 2010. In 2014 he was appointed honorary professor of the East China Normal University in Shanghai.