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Discourse analysis and its utility for urban policy research


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Jacobs, K 2006 , 'Discourse analysis and its utility for urban policy research' , Urban Policy and Research, vol. 24, no. 1 , pp. 39-52 , doi: 10.1080/08111140600590817.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jacobs, K
Keywords: Discourse analysis, urban, policy, Foucault, Fairclough
Journal or Publication Title: Urban Policy and Research
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/08111140600590817
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