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Discourse analysis and its utility for urban policy research


Jacobs, KA, Discourse analysis and its utility for urban policy research, Urban Policy and Research, 24, (1) pp. 39-52. ISSN 0811-1146 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2006 Editorial Board, Urban policy research

DOI: doi:10.1080/08111140600590817


In recent years, discourse analysis has been deployed by academics as a methodology to understand the urban policy implementation process, in particular, the ways in which key actors exercise power. Much of the discourse-based research in urban policy has drawn upon the writings of Norman Fairclough and Michel Foucault and seeks to provide a critical scrutiny of texts and utterances of policy makers and other key actors. The methodological assumption that informs discourse-based approaches is that politics is an arena in which different interest groups seek to establish a particular narrative or version of events as a means to pursue political objectives. This article begins by setting out the theoretical influences that have informed discourse analysis. There then follows a discussion of some of the studies that have deployed discourse-based research within urban policy, an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses as a method and an assessment for new areas of enquiry. The article’s conclusion is that discourse analysis provides the researcher with a set of tools to interpret urban policy in a theoretically informed and insightful way. However, there are some pitfalls associated with its techniques that require consideration before any analysis should commence.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:discourse analysis, urban, policy, Foucault, Fairclough
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Indigenous
Objective Group:Pacific Peoples community services
Objective Field:Pacific Peoples community services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Jacobs, KA (Professor Keith Jacobs)
ID Code:39392
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2013-03-15
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