The Empirical Project of Imagining Social Change

Part of the Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse book series (PSDS)


This chapter interrogates the notion of empirical research by exploring the status of the ‘text’ and its ‘traces’. It looks in particular at how these terms have been theorised by poststructuralist scholars Derrida and Levinas in contrast with Fairclough’s dialectical-relational CDA. It encourages analysts to look within the text for traces of a desire for a less oppressive world. The chapter proposes a method that draws, like most forms of CDA, upon Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), but which asks different types of questions. These include questions about the shape of the social structure, the desire for an alternative and the ‘selves’ that are textually constituted, and the possibilities for transformation here. The chapter outlines the fieldwork and the data sets of the research project.


Social Practice Social World Conceptual System Strategic Intervention Empirical Object 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishSheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

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