Publication Details

Waitt, G. R. (2005). Doing Discourse Analysis. In I. Hay (Eds.), Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (pp. 163-191). U.K.: Oxford University Press.


My hope in writing this chapter is to generate enthusiasm for geographical research employing discourse analysis. My intention is to provide some advice on doing discourse analysis to facilitale the design of research. I first outline why some geographers have been inspired by this approach. I suggest how Foucauldian discourse analysis is a break from other critical methods applied to textual analysis, including content analysis, semiology, and iconography. The theoretical underpinnings of the method provided by Michel Foucault, a French poststructuralist philosopher, is a key source of difference. I therefore condense Michel Foucault's contribution to discourse analysis by sketching out his key theoretical concepts and their methodological implications. To discuss the methodological implications 0f doing discourse analysis I draw upon the advice of feminist geographer Gillian Rose and linguist Norman Fairclough. I provide a list of questions to help implement a Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis and illustrate their implications lor 'doing' geography by drawing upon examples. This chapter should therefore be read only as an appetiser as there are many forms of discourse analysis. The suggested readings provide a much larger selection of the theoretical and methodological possibilities.