Next ACDC meeting, Anja Eleveld on the role of rhetoric and affect in policy change, 22 January, 16:00-17:30, 12A39

Dear ACDC Colleagues,

Our very best wishes for a ‘critical’ New Year! You will find the notes from the december meeting where Esperanza Morales López talked about discourse theory and ideology in the business discourse on renewable energy in the archive section of our website.

We welcome you to the next ACDC meeting:

DATE: Tuesday, 22 January 2013
TIME: 16-17:30
Place: VU Main Building Room 12A39

For our next meeting we are pleased to welcome Anja Eleveld. She has recently obtained her PhD degree from Leiden University and is currently working on a research project at the VU Faculty of Law. She will present her PhD research project on ‘the role of rhetoric and affect in policy changes’ (see Eleveld_2012), taking a CDA approach to policy analysis and bringing up some problems in Discourse Theory. She analysed Dutch policy changes in the field of social security, which took place between 2000 and 2003. During these years different actors agreed on the need to transform the Dutch social security system in a so-called ‘life-course based system’, which included instruments that anticipated new ways in which individuals might prefer to distribute their time between work and other activities like care, education, leisure, etc. In this period, the Dutch social-security discourse was transformed into a discourse that foregrounded the affective value of work-life balance at a time in which market values dominated. Her data consist of a selection of key texts (advisory reports, (political) papers, and speeches) and interviews with key actors in the discourse.
The study is based on discourse theory (Glynos and Howarth 2007; Laclau and Mouffe 1985), and takes a Discourse-Historical approach (e.g., Reisigl and Wodak 2009). She found that Discourse Theory was problematic in her empirical research because of its highly abstract approach to concepts. Anja Eleveld will present how she applied Discourse Historical Analysis to stimulate our discussion on the advantages of DHA and possible alternative or complementary approaches to policy analysis for her current research on Work First policies, i.e. the policies which put people who apply for social assistance into work trajectories without delay, disregarding their capacities and often resulting in simple labour. Some suggestions for further theoretical readings:

  • Glynos, J. and D. Howarth, 2007, Logics of Crticial Explanation in Social and Political Theory, London and New York: Routledge
  • Laclau, E. and Ch. Mouffe. 1985. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a radical democratic politics. London: Verso.
  • Reisigl, M. and R. Wodak. 2009. The discourse historical approach. In Meyer and Wodak (Eds), Methods of Critical Discourse Anaysis. London: Sage, pp. 87-121.

Please let us know if you plan to attend in view of our modest catering efforts.
We hope to see you on the 22nd.

With kind regards,
Bertie Kaal, Steve Oswald, Alan Cienki and Nicolina Montesano Montessori
ACDC convenors

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