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The Discourse of Politics in Action
 
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The Discourse of Politics in Action
Politics as Usual
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
28 Apr 2009
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£68.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780230018815
||
 
 
21 Jun 2011
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£21.99
|Paperback Print on Demand
  
9780230300750
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eBooks ebook on Palgrave Connect  ebook available via library subscriptions ebook on ebooks.com 
 
 


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Nowadays we have unprecedented levels of access to information; politics and the media share a closer relationship than ever before, and the more successful politicians acquire the status of quasi-celebrities. Despite this, there is widespread disenchantment with politics, a growing cynicism about the political process, and much concern about the so-called 'democratic deficit'. And yet, how much do we actually know about the real world of politics? Is our eroding trust in politicians based on a lack of understanding about the activities they actually engage in?
 
In an extensive critical ethnography of the European Parliament, typical 'orders and disorders of discourse' are identified that illustrate the discursive mechanisms by which politics are organised in this and other (transnational, national and regional) arenas. The intricate complexity of 'power-knowledge' in the daily quest for hegemony is analysed in detail, carefully documenting politicians' movement across many 'communities of practice', employing a huge range of genres, conversational styles, argumentative moves, and (in)direct pragmatic devices, as part of their 'professional habitus'. Furthermore, the critical discourse analysis is juxtaposed with its fictionalised representation in the American TV soap The West Wing, which constructs an idealised version of this 'backstage', conveying to a global audience a highly simplistic account of what politics entails. This book goes behind the scenes of politics, uncovering the reality of daily 'politics as usual', and contrasting this with the glamorised, often sensationalised world of politics presented to us on television.


Description


Nowadays we have unprecedented levels of access to information; politics and the media share a closer relationship than ever before, and the more successful politicians acquire the status of quasi-celebrities. Despite this, there is widespread disenchantment with politics, a growing cynicism about the political process, and much concern about the so-called 'democratic deficit'. And yet, how much do we actually know about the real world of politics? Is our eroding trust in politicians based on a lack of understanding about the activities they actually engage in?
 
In an extensive critical ethnography of the European Parliament, typical 'orders and disorders of discourse' are identified that illustrate the discursive mechanisms by which politics are organised in this and other (transnational, national and regional) arenas. The intricate complexity of 'power-knowledge' in the daily quest for hegemony is analysed in detail, carefully documenting politicians' movement across many 'communities of practice', employing a huge range of genres, conversational styles, argumentative moves, and (in)direct pragmatic devices, as part of their 'professional habitus'. Furthermore, the critical discourse analysis is juxtaposed with its fictionalised representation in the American TV soap The West Wing, which constructs an idealised version of this 'backstage', conveying to a global audience a highly simplistic account of what politics entails. This book goes behind the scenes of politics, uncovering the reality of daily 'politics as usual', and contrasting this with the glamorised, often sensationalised world of politics presented to us on television.


Reviews



"In this fascinating ethnographic study, and within an integrated interdisciplinary theoretical framework, Ruth Wodak goes beyond the usual analysis of political discourse. She examines the hectic daily 'backstage' of doing politics ("walk and talk") by european parliamentarians as well as in the fictional world of the TV series The West Wing. A great contribution to both discourse studies and political science."
- Teun van Dijk, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain.
 
"What if politics was a play? With her trademark impressive methodological rigour and immense creativity, Ruth Wodak takes us on a fascinating journey where she decodes the logic of political discourse, action, and representation. The result is a brilliant, rich, and subtle book. From the backstage of the European Parliament to popular political sitcoms, she reveals a face of democratic practice that we cannot afford to ignore."
- Michael Bruter, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.    
 
"Wodak's book will provide researchers, students, and political enthusiasts with a very rich study of frontstage and backstage politics." - Ruth Harman, University of Georgia, USA 
 
'...yet another thought provoking and elegant book by Ruth Wodak...a valuable contribution to the analysis of everyday political routines...' - Qualitative Sociology Review
 
'Ruth Wodak is one of the leading and most productive scholars in the field of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). This
present book addresses the discourse of politics, more specifically the questions 'how politics is done' and 'what politicians
actually do'...These questions are addressed on the basis of rich empirical data gathered in previous years as part of wider projects investigating discursive practices within the European Union institutions, research projects conducted by Ruth Wodak and
her co-workers either at Lancaster University or at Vienna where she worked before moving to the UK. There are extensive
acknowledgements and references to previous projects and related publications. Her main aim of this book is presented as
integrating ''these seemingly fragmented findings from many ethnographic case studies into a theoretical, interdisciplinary
framework which could throw light on the discursive construction and representation of politics in action''...' - Journal of Pragmatics
 
'Wodak's book is well-worth reading and thinking about.' - Jonathon Roberge, The Centre for Cultural Sociology


Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Photographs
Preface
'Doing Politics'
The (Ir)rationality of Politics
'Politics as Usual' on the 'European Stage': Constructing and performing 'European Identities
One Day in the Life of a MEP
Everyday Politics in Television: Fiction and/or Reality?
Order or Disorder: Fiction or Reality? The Implications of 'Power and Knowledge Management' on the Organization of 'Politics as Usual'
Appendix
Notes
References
Index


Authors

RUTH WODAK, is Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at the Department of Linguistics, Lancaster University, UK. (and affiliated to the University of Vienna). Besides various other prizes, she was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996. She has published widely on (European and national) Identity Politics, Racism and Discrimination, Multilingualism and Language Policies, and Politics of the Past.