When discourse is introduced into IR studies, several crucial questions arise: how does a State develop its foreign and security policy game through discourse?
How does one understand the meanings produced by discourse that can affect the interaction between States? And, how can enemies, hostilities, and risks be made and constructed in world politics through discursive means? To answer these questions, this article takes a social constructivist approach to the issue of discourse and the meanings produced by it in IR, arguing that discourse can be a form of in security practice and its social meanings are not naturally given but socially produced.
One assumption here is that if discourse is a form of social practice and can produce meanings, it can also become a source that helps shape in security culture in world politics.
In other words, a State's foreign and security policy discourse not only articulates certain ideas of that State's policy and strategy, but also creates social interactions in IR through conveying meanings to other States. Simultaneously, the im proper use of discourse may cause effects of either mutual understandings or antagonistic conflicts among States. The article attempts to transcend a conventional assumption that international in security derives from un balanced distribution of material capabilities among States by arguing that in security can also be produced by im proper use of language, and as a result designing good language in foreign policy is also crucial in IR.
This article falls into five parts. The first part gives a brief account of some philosophical resources on which the discourse as in security practice and the understanding of its meanings are based, with its focus mainly on the insights of "speech act" theory and poststructuralist theory on meanings. The second part explores discourse and meanings in IR, arguing that IR is not only an arena of physical competition among States, but also a place where States struggle for dominance of discursive power.
In part three, the article conceptualizes critically drawing notions from the conception of "securitization" provided by the Copenhagen School on how the meanings of foreign and security discourse can be lexically constructed and interpreted in the context in which the effect of in security culture is produced, and how the process of language use itself is taken as an in security practice. The fourth part takes the U. Bush's rhetoric of "axis of evil" as an empirical case, crystallizing how improper use of language in foreign and security policy has led causally to bitter antagonistic tensions between the U.
Concluding remarks comprises the final part of this article. Philosophical insights as intellectual resources. It has long been believed that language is an abstract system of signs. This understanding tends to see language as something ontologically static and neutral in nature, and thus takes neither adequate attention to its dynamic use nor the productive role it plays in social practice. According to conventional assumptions in traditional linguistics, social practice is particularly conducted by physically "doing" or perpetrating deeds rather than by verbal "talking" or words.
However, language is not merely an abstract system of signs. It is also a crucial factor that can help constitute social acts or realities. Language in use or discourse is a social practice that produces effects of power in social relations. In fact, people participate in various kinds of social, political and cultural activities mainly through the use of language.
In other words, people employ linguistic signs in a given historical, social and cultural context, in which the language in use not only conveys ideas of the language-user, but also generates social effects on the language-user and the targeted audiences in their social relations. It can be argued that language is not merely a device of human communication and a reflection of reality; it also functions as a catalyst on the minds and deeds of others.
The social implications of language consist in its influence, persuasion and even alteration of others' ideas, beliefs, and behaviors. An important use of language is as significant social practice that produces effects of power in social relations.
Meanings Of Audiences Comparative Discourses
That is a crucial but unheeded aspect that is fundamentally different from traditional linguistic theories. That said, it is imperative to take earnest concerns with use of language, which is no longer merely viewed as innocent and impartial in social life.
One focus on it refers to how people do and even accomplish things by words, and how responses and effects are produced among the audiences who interpret the meanings of those words. A theory of "speech act", advocated by English philosopher John L. Austin, is invoked here as a point of departure for these concerns on the ground that this theory expounds the idea that human beings do things with words.
According to the "speech act" theory, a particular use of language may involve different acts. The language in use not only illustrates the language user's acts, but also causes social effects of power on audiences. As a social practice, discourse can be employed to do either good or bad things.
People may use language to influence, alter and even manipulate thoughts, behaviors and feelings of others, and to make "others believe or engage things against their own interests". The "speech act" theory provides a philosophical framework for the idea of discourse as social practice, though the theory itself also invites critiques and challenges.
Still, the theoretical claim that people do things with words is both intellectually insightful and pragmatically meaningful. Unlike other social practices, discourse may not directly affect the structure and changes of the external world, but works "indirectly and psychologically". A related concern to the discourse as social practice is the issue of meaning.
In both structural linguistics and poststructuralist philosophy, a shared view is that the meaning produced by linguistic signs is not naturally given or fixed; rather, it is the product of social customs and norms. The meaning that a word obtains lies in its difference from other words. That is to say, meanings exist in the relationship of differences, so called "the principle of differences". However, there is a fundamental disagreement between structuralism and poststructuralism as to whether the meaning remains stable after its existence. The former insists that as soon as the meaning of a word is produced, it is in a stable and unchangeable structure.
In other words, the meaning of a sign thus produced has stability and fixation. The latter, though sharing with the former's view that meanings of a sign are not obtained by its relations to external reality but by internal relationship of the structure of different signs, does not share such a structuralist idea that meanings can be stable, fixed and complete as soon as they are socially given. Then what makes the meaning of a sign change?
There are divergent views about it even within poststructuralists themselves. Jacques Derrida, French philosopher, argues that the meanings of signs are always uncertain and unstable, and that words do not carry universal meanings, which are, on the contrary, taken as something that is subject to change. One can give multiple meanings to a sign through the device of deconstruction, a strategy of double reading of texts, which aims to unsettle the root of freezing or fixing meanings.
To other poststructuralists, however, deconstructivism is an idealist "scholastic" effort, which relies naively and narrowly on the reading of symbolic signs or texts, refuses to accept methodology of empirical analysis, and as a result brings about "problems" to the social practice due to its limiting the scope of pragmatic applications.
Michel Foucault, French social thinker, argues that discourse can be regulated; and in the realm of power social relations, it can affect and create the object of knowledge, and determine what a "truth claim" is. Therefore, in social reality, meanings of a sign are not fluid all the time but can be controlled and even manipulated in the context of power social relations.
Meanings of Audiences: Comparative discourses
Social power determines what can be said, what cannot be said in a certain social and cultural context; it also regulates who can say things and when and where to say them. A discourse under the social relations of power can help construct and maintain certain social order, which is regarded as one that is most suitable to power holder's interests, and silence and downplay other social orders that may threaten the power holders. Therefore, according to Foucault, there is a constitutive relationship between discourse as a form of knowledge and social power.
Another French social thinker also observed meanings of signs through the lens of the social relations of power. Pierre Bourdieu pointed out that the feature of linguistic power couldn't be understood simply from the level of language itself but by putting it in the particular relationship between those who exert power and those who accept power. The power that can produce discourse is the one that can maintain or subvert social orders. Everyone produces discourse on a daily basis. But its importance and effects are of wide difference.
Meanings of Audiences: Comparative Discourses - كتب Google
It depends on who uses language. In both Foucault and Bourdieu's ideas on culture, struggling for dominance of discourse, and maintaining or subverting the meanings of signs, these are crucial aspects of social life. Those who control discourse control society. Since discourse produces multiple meanings, a consensus is that people understand and, in most cases, deal with the world mainly through the means of words, and the knowledge produced and acquired in this way is not so much objective reflection of the real world as the result of discursive generalization and conceptualization of that world through the social relations of power.
In other words, human knowledge is the social construction within a specific historical and cultural context. In this sense, the meanings of signs are obtained and generated in and through social interactions. In short, based on the understanding of discourse as social practice, which draws the insight of "speech act" theory as its philosophical foundation, several claims can be made as follows.
First, language is not merely a system of signs as a device for human communications or a mirror of social realities; it is also a crucial means by which the world is historically and socially re presented and re constructed. Things and events can be done and accomplished by words. The meaning of language derives from, and changes within, a specific social and cultural context. Second, discourse as social practice does not work alone or in isolation; it is closely related with other forms of social performances. Third, as a type of social practice, discourse or language in use is not value-free, but characteristic of ethical and normative intentions.
In different disciplines of social sciences, discourse has different categories, like discourse of law, religious discourse, discourse of science and technology, medical discourse, and ethical discourse etc. In the discipline of IR, one often takes interest in political including foreign policy discourse. By political discourse, it may refer to the use of language pertaining to political topics and issues. Political discourses often appear on newspapers, televisions, radios, and the Internet; they are also seen on various political arenas such as political campaigns, party rallies, popular demonstrations, political pamphlets, diplomatic negotiations and international agreements.
Political discourses are usually involved directly with political topics and issues. Yet certain civil discourses indirectly associated with political issues can also be regarded as political discourse. In IR, when certain language is in use, it expresses meanings on at least two levels.