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Testing the Language–Power Assumption of Critical Discourse Analysis: The Case of Israel's Legislative Discourse

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2012

Shaul R. Shenhav*
Affiliation:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Gideon Rahat*
Affiliation:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tamir Sheafer*
Affiliation:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
*
Shaul R. Shenhav, Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, shaul.shenhav@huji.ac.il
Gideon Rahat, Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, msgrah@mscc.huji.ac.il
Tamir Sheafer, Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, msstamir@mscc.huji.ac.il

Abstract

Abstract. The growing interest in the relation between language and politics brings new assumptions and theoretical frameworks to the study of politics. This study presents a simple empirical test of a major assumption of the critical discourse analysis school: that power is a major factor in political discourse. It examines whether the discourse of Israeli members of parliament (Knesset) represents a view of the world through the prism of power or whether parliament members refer to the experience of similar democracies. We demonstrate that power is a strong and significant factor in Israeli legislative discourse through time and across issues while relevance plays no role.

Résumé. L'intérêt grandissant que suscite le lien entre langage et politique, génère de nouvelles hypothèses et de nouvelles théories de l'étude du politique. Cette étude propose de tester l'une des principales hypothèses de l'analyse critique de discours, à savoir que le pouvoir serait un facteur essentiel du discours politique. Le discours des membres du parlement israélien (la Knesset) est analysé afin de déterminer s'il reflète une vision du monde à travers le prisme du pouvoir, ou si au contraire les membres du parlements se réfèrent plutôt à l'expérience d'autres démocraties sous différents angles, en particulier celui de la similaritê de leur travail parlementaire. Cette étude démontre que le pouvoir constitue un facteur important et significatif du discours législatif israélien, à la fois sur la longue durée et concernant une variété de sujets, alors que le facteur de la pertinence ne joue aucun rôle.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association 2012

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