Tekst- og diskursanalyse som sociologisk fremgangsmåde

  • Lars Kjerulf Petersen


Text and discourse analyses as sociological pratice Text analysis must be regarded as a central component in sociological inquiry. Relations of power and domination and societal processes as such are establi¬shed and maintained through knowled¬¬ge and communication, i.e. through texts. Therefore sociology should be in¬terested in identifying the knowledge and the meanings, i.e. the discourses, that are prevalent in a society, a commu¬nity or various organisations – and in the texts of such social organisms. The purpose of this article is to argue that the identification of societal discourses, and thereby the production of sociolo¬gical insight, can be very profitably con¬ducted through text analysis. First the concept of discourse is clarified. With reference to Ricoeur and Foucault dis¬course is understood as a system of meaning and knowledge, a system that is in motion and works in multiple ways, but still has some sort of coheren¬ce. To identify discourses in a group of texts, different techniques can be appli¬ed focusing on various aspects of text structure. Through such techniques the interpretation of texts can be qualified, and a maximum of accordance between the sociological analysis and the wor¬kings in and of a text can be approa¬ched. Texts are elements in signification processes involving senders and recei¬vers and their (re)construction of mean¬ing. While it is very important to consi¬der the context of texts, there is no point in privileging the reception in significa¬tion processes when identifying mean¬ing. The only accessible trace of the sig¬nification process, i.e. the text itself, might just as well be the focus of attention.