Reflexive discourse analysis: A methodology for the practice of reflexivity

How to implement reflexivity in practice? Can the knowledge we produce be emancipatory when our discourses recursively originate in the world we aim to challenge? Critical International Relations (IR) scholars have successfully put reflexivity on the agenda based on the theoretical premise that discourse and knowledge play a socio-political role. However, academics often find themselves at a loss when it comes to implementing reflexivity due to the lack of adapted methodological and pedagogical material. This article shifts reflexivity from meta-reflections on the situatedness of research into a distinctive practice of research and writing that can be learned and taught alongside other research practices. To do so, I develop a methodology based on discourse: reflexive discourse analysis (RDA). Based on the discourse analysis of our own discourse and self-resocialisation, RDA aims to reflexively assess and transform our socio-discursive engagement with the world, so as to render it consistent with our intentional socio-political objectives. RDA builds upon a theoretical framework integrating discourse theory to Bourdieu’s conceptual apparatus for reflexivity and practices illustrated in the works of Comte and La Boétie. To illustrate this methodology, I used this very article as a recursive performance. I show how RDA enabled me to identify implicit discriminative mechanisms within my discourse and transform them into an alternative based on love, to produce an article more in line with my socio-political objectives. Overall, this article turns reflexivity into a critical methodology for social change and demonstrates how to integrate criticality methodologically into research and writing.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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