With the ‘cultural turn’, the concept of culture has assumed enormous importance in our understanding of the interrelations between social, political, and economic structures, patterns of everyday interaction, and systems of meaning-making. In The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Analysis, the leading figures in their fields explore the implications of this paradigm shift. Addressed to academics and advanced students in all fields of the social sciences and humanities, this Handbook is at once a synthesis of advances in the field, with a comprehensive coverage of the scholarly literature, and a collection of original and provocative essays by some of the brightest intellectuals of our time.
Discourse analysis, to begin with a claim of broad consensus, poses the question of how to analyse culture not as a question of behavioural variables or objective social structures, but as a question of understanding culture ‘from within’, providing the cultural analyst with a concrete object of investigation – the text. Its premises draw upon Wittgenstein's ‘language games’ and upon Foucault's theory of ‘discourse’, both of which view language as a constitutive component of the social world.
Culture is constituted by the resources of meaning-making, language and image, which are available for use in a community of social actors at any given time. Historically specific and locally variable as these symbolic resources of meaning-making are, they always function to crystallize and to change ...