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Det sociala livets drama och dess manus: diskursanalys, kön och sociala avvikelser
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

We are the eyes of our discourses. This is the point of departure. The disourses make us see, think, talk, act. be and move in certain ways. They contribute to forming our bodies, our souls, our genders. Therefore, to consider how such discourses are ordered becomes an important project. How is the manuscript of the social drama written? How is meaning constructed in our lives? What effects may the construction of meaning have? The ensuing research assignment will be to design a discourse analysis which is justifiable from the perspectives of gender theory and ethics and which can function as a research strategy, and to apply that discourse analysis to three areas or texts: a traditional social science text, texts from the contemporary discussion about gender theory, and a story of my own from social work with children.

First, a frame centered around the philosophy of language and the theory of knowledge is constructed to encircle the discourse analysis as a research strategy, and then the analysis is described out of an example. The first application—to a classic, sociological text—clearly illus­trates how a disourse analysis can be made, and it also demonstrates how gendered meanings can be constituted and discursively reproduced in social science texts as well as what potential effects the constitution of meaning can have. This application makes up an illustration of how gender differences are constructed and naturalised in a concurrence of discourse and practice.

The second application is a discursive reading of the contemporary discussion about gender theory and its various gendered meanings and varying effects. Here I posit my own view of gender/sex in relation to that discussion. Both in scholarly work and in everyday life there are discursive controversies about which gendered meaning to naturalise, about which drama to enact, about which manuscript to use. The discourse analysis can visualise such controversies.

In the third application of the discourse analysis, the relation between discourse and practice is focused. It concerns social work with children and departs from my own story about a child who is taken into custody. In the analysis, social work is described as paradoxical and contra­dictory, a discipline whose governing purpose is the maintenance and administration of central social values and orders like class, gender, and ethnicity (here focused on gender).

The discourse analysis in the three applications opens up opportunities for a discussion and an ethical reflection about how discursive constitutions are made and what effects they have. Contrarily, the analysis also demonstrates what discursive constitutions aggravate or silence in reference to other approaches or modes of expression, and consequential forms of social practices, relations, life styles, and ways of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1999. , 315 p.
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 29
Keyword [en]
Discourse analysis, women studies, gender theory, gender, sex, social aberrations, social work, naturalisation, the eye of the discourse, discursive manuscripts, social drama, the discourse of child care, the discourse of normality, the discourse of acculturation, the discourse of public access, the discourse of the good will, the discourse of the linear time, the discourse of the mother, mothering
National Category
Social Work Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61514ISBN: 91-7191-733-0OAI: diva2:570311
Public defence
1999-12-10, Samhällsvetarhuset, hörsal S205h, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2012-11-19 Created: 2012-11-19 Last updated: 2013-02-19Bibliographically approved

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