Judith Renner
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A discourse theoretical approach to normative change
in Discourse, normative change and the quest for reconciliation in global politics
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Chapter 1 sets out to develop the theoretical framework for the book’s undertaking. It outlines a discourse theoretical approach for the critical analysis of normative change which builds specifically, but not exclusively, on the discourse theory developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. The chapter argues that Laclau and Mouffe’s concepts of the destabilisation (dislocation) of discourses and their (re)construction through hegemonic struggles, provide useful tools to reconstruct processes of normative change. Moreover, the concepts of discourse and its constitution around a particular nodal point or empty universal are helpful to analyse in detail the ways in which (normative) meaning is produced and temporarily stabilized in relational systems of signification. The chapter also fleshes out the concept of the power and productivity of discourses which is central for a critical inquiry into the performance of social meanings. It shows how to question the empirical validity of social reality and examine the ways in which discourses produce one and simultaneously repress specific interpretations of the social world

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