The role of discourse in international relations and foreign policy cannot be underestimated. Discourse can be “defined as a linguistic system produces meaning and identities as a precondition to actions” (“On the question of epistemology,” n.d., 4). In other words, it defines the possible meanings assigned to specific events at a particular point in time (“On the question of epistemology,” n.d.). Therefore, a discourse has a direct and explicit political implication since the words used to describe certain actions can have differential meanings. In addition, a discourse has a strong relationship with power language, where discourse analysis serves as a highly effective tool for assessing and understanding the systems of communication (“Week 6: Poststructuralism,” n.d.). In the case of post-structuralism, discourse analysis is directly focused on “linguistic systems through which meaning is generated, and agents in power acted upon” (“Week 6: Poststructuralism,” n.d., p. 1). For the foreign policies, discourse “plays a crucial role in the construction of these visions as it draws a line between the state and what makes the scope of the state on the other” (“Week 6: Poststructuralism,” n.d., p. 1). In other words, the analytical points of interest primarily include texts, such as radio, TV, reports, documents, and public speeches.
It is important to note that discourse analysis is closely tied with post-structuralism, which comprises the essence of international relations. It is stated that political entities express their upheld views and perspective through policy discourses (Hansen, 2017). In accordance with the concept of a discourse of post-structuralists, there is no objective distinction between domestic and foreign policies, which is why discourse analysis can encompass a wider range of topics and subjects (Hansen, 2017). Therefore, foreign policy is discursive practice, which is centered around the critical analysis of institutions and the language they use.
Hansen, L. (2017). Discourse analysis, post-structuralism, and foreign policy. In S. Smith, A. Hadfield, & T. Dunne (Eds.), Foreign policy: Theories, actors, cases (pp. 94-109). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On the question of epistemology [PowerPoint slides]. (n.d.).
Week 6: Poststructuralism [DOC document]. (n.d.).