Discourse: some considerations for the reflective practitioner
Ryan, Anne B. (2011) Discourse: some considerations for the reflective practitioner. In: The Reflective Practitioner. MACE: Maynooth Adult and Community Education.
In this chapter, I use the term discourse in a very specific way. My usage concerns meaning repertoires, through which we filter our experiences. When people talk about something or when we act, we draw on or activate certain meaning-resources or discourses.2 We often do so within dominant discourses, which characterise ways of talking, writing, thinking, behaving and theorising that prevail at certain times in certain arenas of life. How do these taken-for-granted ways of being define or position people in particular ways? How do they act to legitimise particular kinds of behaviour? What assumptions does a particular discourse contain about what is normal or desirable? Whose position is strengthened or weakened by what is focused upon or what is ignored within a particular discourse? What discourses are muted or unacknowledged? What discourses might one expect to find concerning a theme, but which are noticeable by their absence? Such questions are a necessary concern for the reflective practitioner.
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