A discourse on dating from a to z
In doing so it produces much of what occurs within us and within society.Sociologists see discourse as embedded in and emerging out of relations of power, because those in control of institutions—like media, politics, law, medicine, and education—control its formation.
Some discourses come to dominate the mainstream (dominant discourses), and are considered truthful, normal, and right, while others are marginalized and stigmatized, and considered wrong, extreme, and even dangerous.Let’s take a closer look at the relationships between institutions and discourse.(French social theorist Michel Foucault wrote prolifically about institutions, power, and discourse. Institutions organize knowledge-producing communities and shape the production of discourse and knowledge, all of which is framed and prodded along by ideology.If we define ideology simply as one’s worldview, which reflects one’s socio-economic position in society, then it follows that ideology influences the formation of institutions, and the kinds of discourses that institutions create and distribute.If ideology is worldview, discourse is how we organize and express that worldview in thought and language.Discourse refers to how we think and communicate about people, things, the social organization of society, and the relationships among and between all three.
Discourse typically emerges out of social institutions like media and politics (among others), and by virtue of giving structure and order to language and thought, it structures and orders our lives, relationships with others, and society.
It thus shapes what we are able to think and know any point in time.
In this sense, sociologists frame discourse as a productive force because it shapes our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, values, identities, interactions with others, and our behavior.
Ideology thus shapes discourse, and, once discourse is infused throughout society, it in turn influences the reproduction of ideology. The word cloud at the top of this post shows the words that dominated a 2011 Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News.
Take, for example, the relationship between mainstream media (an institution) and the anti-immigrant discourse that pervades U. In discussions of immigration reform, the most frequently spoken word was “illegal,” followed by “immigrants,” “country,” “border,” “illegals,” and “citizens.”Taken together, these words are part of a discourse that reflects a nationalist ideology (borders, citizens) that frames the U. as under attack by a foreign (immigrants) criminal threat (illegal, illegals).
Within this anti-immigrant discourse, “illegals” and “immigrants” are juxtaposed against “citizens,” each working to define the other through their opposition.