Discourse, rhetoric and logics
in The politics of airport expansion in the United Kingdom
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This chapter demonstrates how poststructuralist discourse theory, when articulated with elements of critical discourse analysis and rhetorical political analysis, contributes important tools and concepts to critical policy studies. Drawing on Laclau, Derrida and others, it first establishes the ontological assumptions of poststructuralist discourse theory, showing how its categories and logics help to analyse the politics of policy change as a hegemonic struggle, whilst also foregrounding the rhetorical and affective dimension of policy-making. Using the category of discourse, it develops a poststructuralist reading of the Gramscian concepts of hegemony and power, while outlining the connections between discourse and rhetoric. It then employs the Lacanian logic of fantasy to focus attention on the enjoyment subjects procure from their identifications with certain policy practices. Finally, it addresses questions of methodology, setting out the steps of what is termed the logics of critical explanation: problematisation, retroduction, social, political, and fantasmatic logics, articulation, judgment and critique.

The politics of airport expansion in the United Kingdom

Hegemony, policy and the rhetoric of ‘sustainable aviation’

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