Why Discourse Matters?

2nd Graduate Conference on Theoretical and Methodological Practices of Discourse Approaches

Doctoral Student’s Two-Days Meeting with Prof. Dr. Ruth Wodak  (Distinguished Professor and Chair in Discourse Studies at Lancaster University)

October 17-18, 2014 Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

 Call for Papers

In April 2014, with the support of the International Postgraduate Center (IPC) at Frankfurt University, we organized the 1st graduate conference “Why Discourse Matters?” in the framework of the doctoral students’ working group Discourse Analysis.

The main objective of the 1st conference was to reflect on and bring into discussion the different theories and methodological approaches to the study of discourse and identities. Choosing and following a specific discourse milieu becomes one of the crucial academic interests for scholars looking into changes, heights, and dimensions of discourses in societal forms. In fact, each milieu has established understandings and interpretations of key concepts such as “discourse”, “hegemony”, “power”, “knowledge”, and even the meaning of employing “discourse analysis” in research. Worth noting is also the interplay between and influence of these categories in studies on gender, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, justice, and nation, and the extending of inquiry into further subject positions.

The upcoming conference, to be held on October 17-18, 2014, will be a follow-on to the 1st conference, and will focus as well on the theoretical and methodological implications of employing discourse analysis in interdisciplinary social science research. We are interested in discourse analysis tools of inquiries and their intersection with other techniques of qualitative research such as biographical, narrative analysis, ethnography, or case studies. We also call for contributions that examine the traveling nature and deployment of discourses in international arenas, as well as the inherent changing structure of discourses, emphasizing its mutations and flow in a synchronic and diachronic way.

The 2nd conference aims to explore further the topics identified above and to delve deeper into an exchange on the meaning and application of discourse analysis. The conference panels are arranged according to thematic fields, with the overarching theme of discourse analysis shared by all. Proposed papers should therefore be clearly focused on the theoretical and methodological underpinning of their research, as they relate to discourse analysis. Empirical details of the specific topic of each project, its general goals, and its particularities, should be included in the papers insofar as they promote the discussion of the method in the specific project. The idea is to create, through the panels and the papers presented therein, the foundation for an in-depth exchange among the conference participants on discourse analysis, its application, and its meaning in qualitative social science research.

The Conference will be accompanied by Prof. Ruth Wodak, Distinguished Professor and Chair in Discourse Studies at Lancaster University. Prof. Wodak will give a keynote lecture, as well as accompany the panels throughout the conference and offer final remarks at the concluding roundtable discussion on the conference themes and their reflection in the panels.

The conference is scheduled as a two-day graduate students’ workshop. In each session, presenters will be allotted 10 minutes each to give their contribution (based on their submitted paper). The presentations will be followed by questions and a discussion. Papers (to be submitted in late September, see timeline below) should be approximately 10-15 pages long (font Time New Roman size 12 with 1.5 line space).

All conference proceedings and discussions will be held in English. The conference will take place at the Goethe University in Frankfurt a.M., Germany.


Conference Sessions and Relevant Themes:

  • The Embodied Discourses: Discursive Positioning in Narrations

–      The discursive analysis of individual social positioning and the politics of belonging in biographies and narratives;

–      The intersectionality of differences, feminisms, nationalisms, racisms, and colonialities as inscribed formations in the subjective (intimate) narrations;

–      The spoken identities, biographies, and narratives and their relations toward the discursive power formations;

–      Identity debates and the interpretative and reconstructive methodological strategies in the qualitative research (in particular narrative, biographical, and ethnographical).

  • Materialities and Boundaries of Discourse

–      Theoretical explorations, critiques, and reformulations of the classical Foucauldian conceptual toolbox: discourse, counter-discourse, discursive formation, non-discursive practices, statement, and system of dispersion;

–      Is it possible to identify a border between a discourse and a counter-discourse? What is the interplay between the two categories? How to deal with the entanglement between continuity and discontinuity?

–      The relation between the notion of discourse, hegemony, and resistance;

–      Inquiries about the methods with which a researcher identifies and defines a discourse and a counter-discourse.

  • Counter-Discourses and Cooptation

–      Empirical contributions that seek to answer, how the meaning(s) of a discourse can be appropriated, subverted, and used as a means to counteract or resist a dominant/hegemonic discourse?

–      How to define and think about the ‘counter’ in the notion counter-discourse?

–      What is the role of social movements in the interplay between discourses and counter-discourses? What is the link between social struggles and conflicts around meanings?

–      How contemporary racism subverted critiques raised by antiracist movements in order to claim the right to difference and the maintenance of borders between enclosed “cultures”? How some feminist and LGBT claims and projects were instrumentalized and deployed in order to create different kinds of exclusions and abject subjects? What is the role of cooptation in these processes?

  • Governmentality and Poverty: On the Intricate Relation between Discourses on Economics, Identities, and the Government of the Self

–      Neoliberal discourses and the government of the self: an exploration of discourses and the internalization of forms of control of the self;

–      Analyzing governmentality in neoliberal reforms during the 80s throughout the world, conditional cash transfer programs in Latin America, and the recent European economic crises;

–      Analyzing performativity throughout discourses of development, economic crisis management, and good governance, as well as resistance to these discourses;

–      Social control of poverty, with particular focus on feminist criticism and investigations on discourses that inform gendered-racialized forms of control of poverty.



Applications due: July 28, 2014

Notification of acceptance: August 4, 2014

Deadline for submitting papers to panel conveners: September 29, 2014

Conference dates: October 17-18, 2014


Please complete the online application form for participation. Upon submission, you will receive a confirmation email.

A limited number of places are reserved for non-presenting participants. To apply, please complete the online application for non-presenting participants.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at da.conference.2014@gmail.com.


Costs and travel stipends:

Conference fee (upon registration; to cover refreshments): 10 Euros.

A limited number of travel grants will be available for participants. To apply, please add a brief statement of motivation, as noted in the application form.

Conference organizers:

The conference is organized by the doctoral students members of the Doc-AG “Discourse Analysis” in the framework of the International Postgraduate Center (IPC) and the IPP Transnational doctoral program of the Faculty for Social Sciences at the Goethe University in Frankfurt a.M.

Discourse Analysis Doc-AG members:

Luis Manuel Hernández Aguilar

Beatriz Junqueira Lage Carbone

Marija Grujić

Aviv Melamud

Kristina Nottbohm



In case of any questions regarding the conference and the application process, please contact us via email at da.conference.2014@gmail.com.

Conference Venue:

Campus Westend, PEG building, 1st floor: room 135

Grüneburgplatz 1

D – 60323 Frankfurt am Main

Goethe University, Frankfurt

Why Discourse Matters?

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