Abstract

This paper is an attempt to come to terms with different understandings of the term discourse. By comparing the common use of discourse analysis in applied linguistics with its use both in critical discourse analysis and in a Foucauldian use of the term, I try to show how these different approaches imply profoundly different understandings of the relationship between language, the individual, ideology, and society. Ultimately, I argue that there are limitations to both the common applied linguistic and the critical approaches, and that it would be useful to explore further the possibilities raised by a Foucauldian understanding of discourse analysis.

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