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Virtual currencyor virtual moneyis a type of unregulated digital currencywhich is issued and usually controlled by its developers and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community. Inthe European Banking Authority defined crypto currency wikipedia currency as "a digital representation of value that is neither issued by a central bank or a public authority, nor necessarily attached to a fiat tomic milliman bettingexpert tipstersbut is accepted by natural or legal persons as a means of payment and can be transferred, stored or traded electronically". By contrast, a digital currency that is issued by a central bank is defined as " central bank digital currency ". Inthe European Central Bank ECB defined virtual currency as "a type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community". InUS Financial Crimes Enforcement Network FinCENa bureau of the US Treasuryin contrast to its regulations defining currency as "the coin and paper money of the United States or of any other country that [i] is designated as legal tender and that [ii] circulates and [iii] is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance", also called "real currency" by FinCEN, defined virtual currency as "a medium of exchange that operates like a currency in some environments, but does not have all the attributes of real currency".

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Haworth discourse theory in european politics betting

The parenthesis that we can call the modern parenthesis during which we had, on the one hand, a world of objects, Gegenstand, out there, unconcerned by any sort of parliament, forum, agora, congress, court and, on the other, a whole set of forums, meeting places, town halls where people debated, has come to a close. What the etymology of the word thing — chose, cause, res, aita —had conserved for us mysteriously as a sort of fabulous and mythical past has now become, for all to see, our most ordinary present.

Things are gathered again. Latour, b : , italics in original. Indeed, positing an eternal intransitive order was what hitherto stable nonhuman systems seemed to emulate, and thus seemed acceptable to many people. More importantly, perhaps, the relative stability of material like paper, metal and wood enabled and still enables the preservation and transfer of the constructions, regulations, orderings, institutions and establishments invented and maintained by those in power.

In the words of John Law:. Moses and Hammurabi literally carved them in stone, papyrus enabled St. Paul doing something lengthier, Justianus I then preferred the Codex, and contemporary hard-drives carry entire multi-national corporations, universities, and nation-states. Footnote Think of how successful fictional characters have much longer lives than individual human beings even in oral traditions, and we get a sense of how drastically stabilizing uploading or inscribing them upon objects can be.

It explains, also, the appearance of linearity in technological change—which is not pre-given at all: technologies can and have been destroyed and forever forgotten. To argue, on the observation of stability, for a priori acceptance of immobile transcendental structures, as Bhaskar, Gorski and critical realism either imply or explicitly propagate, now clearly becomes either anti-historicist regression, scholastic-intellectualist laziness, or outright authoritarian—altogether not that far from orthodox hermeneutical biblical traditions.

The question on method is one often returning one today, not least in the CDA community, as we have seen above. There is not much space left here to elaborate an entirely new method but luckily, then, this would also be beside the point: what the above three-stepped procedure suggests is not a new method, but rather 1 a loosening of the strict vertical boundary between the discursive-political and material-biophysical realm, which has made it impossible for methods, analytical roadmaps, models, and terminological toolboxes designed for the analysis and orientation of the former to be applied to the latter and vice versa; 2 a new horizontal boundary, disallowing methods, grids, analytical roadmaps or terminologies to disconnect from the controversies and areas they arose from by claiming single universal status, causing them to be applied unmodified and far too quickly on controversies and problems elsewhere.

What might at times be severely disturbing however, especially where critical realist influence is felt, is that this entails constant adaption, re-invention, or re-orientation of methods and toolboxes. Any overly abstract doctrinal analytical grid would immediately run the danger of invoking the sort of intransitive primacy of the ideational sphere which, in times of ecological crisis, must be avoided at all costs.

Let us accept Deleuze on radical empiricism in this regard:. Empiricism is by no means a reaction against concepts On the contrary, it undertakes the most insane creation of concepts ever. Empiricism is a mysticism and a mathematicism of concepts, but precisely one which treats the concept as object of an encounter, as a here and now Deleuze, []: xx. The strong and mostly negative measures developed by Latour can be of great help in this regard for example, To give an impression of what could then be caught and analysed, under this strange assemblage of James-Schmitt-Latour 20 and discourse analysis and otherwise after scale, circumstance and situation are grasped more carefully : take the politicization of clouds in Ruse in Bulgaria already mentioned.

Along the decade, the Marxist-Leninist models on catch-up modernization, which had been successfully installed after World War II, failed to provide proper orientation any longer and did hardly invigorate anybody, nor could centrally planned Marxist nation-state economics direct the real economy any longer. This produced an alienated younger generation unable to find satisfaction or project its ambition within the existing systems.

They allied themselves to another set of actors: the Danubian ecosystems, equally alienated, externalized and ignored by the ruling system. While the Danube was streaming outside of governmental control, thousands took the streets in , in vocal alliance with the river. It provided the reformists in the MSZMP with the pretext to take control of the party and start Round Table negotiations, leading to regime change months thereafter, the very first in the region, as well as to the lasting abandonment of the Hungarian part of the plan.

Sociological science studies have demonstrated convincingly how scientific practice thrives on perplexity over the world, which is generally described by scientists in rather vague or negative terms, while they also report over a fundamental anxiety they experience when invading it Latour and Woolgar, Obviously, also climatologists are constantly debating, arguing and disagreeing with each other.

Even if, for understandable reasons, it is eagerly forgotten by hideous Newtonians like Ruth Wodak and many established greens, it leads no doubt that virtually all scientists consider the possibility of undermining established knowledge as the very cornerstone of their practice. The Scientist as a shaman: by inscribing and engraving, a thing is turned into an object, but is then presented as a terrifying deterrent totem to end disagreement, to end debate and argument, because what has just happened appears as something mysteriously everlasting, eternal, universal.

Climate sceptics, then, are simply correct when they point to such repressive mystifications of Science. Moreover, now that the actual scientific community, on the very basis of its observations, is increasingly compelled to advocate for shifts in policy, their political role becomes ever more visible. Key is to emphasize that the machinery producing truth, objects and objectivity is not what makes them into falsehoods, but is precisely what produces truth Latour and Woolgar, We can then start working frantically to construct, organize, build, extend, compose, and finally impose and maintain relations, objects, collectivities, structures, approaches, and limits.

As can now be pointed out, they are moving instead in networks that are firmly disconnected from actual reality, from any Earthbound materialist approach, checked by cloudy corporations rather than parliamentary democracy. Meanwhile, however, the notion has been critiqued; not without reason, critics point to the warm welcome the abolition of an autonomous Nature receives from eco-modernizers, with the notoriously ruthless Elon Musk as their frontman.

Indeed, as Bonneuil and Fressoz : 70 remark, the Amazonian Yanomami Indians can hardly be considered co-responsible for global warming. There is sense in these remarks—as well as there is, then, a profound sense of irony in the offence taken by self-proclaimed Marxists after being confronted by a literally materialist or objectivist point of view. It is of great importance in this regard to recall how the practices that become questionable in the Anthropocene—that is, the division of nature and culture—can be traced to Plato.

Feminist and postcolonial studies provide notable insight here. Haraway, [] : Such variations legitimize a superior position of the Philosopher, which in modern times became the Scientist with a capital S, or the Critical Realist, or Venture Capitalist whom has broken away from his chains, and learned to endure the sunlight.

Simultaneously however he is endlessly superior. As mentioned: there is no problem with dichotomies in principle. Clearly, from a radical empiricist point of view, they may arouse heated intercourse, and provide for constructing new collectivities, or for enlarging chains of equivalence.

They are also helpful in ordering and producing oversight. However, as has clearly been the case with the nature-culture distinction, a problem emerges when dualism is not considered a processual tool. As demonstrated above, afterward, new actors, elements or undetermined matters are hidden from view, and cannot enter the process of depoliticization, let alone government.

Feminists like Haraway pointed to the idealized separation between man and woman in this regard—and pointed out that a structuralist inversion of positions was merely cosmetic, or possibly even worse. The first category, usually the self, or the observing narrator, is the colonizer, typically masculine, Western, modern, civilized, rational, abstract, in the know of the Laws of Nature. The second category, the other, is the colonized, the observed, feminine, Eastern, ancient, irrational, seductive, embodied, unpredictable, multi-interpretable: to be invaded and ruled over.

Interestingly, with Marx, it is quite clear that such divisionism started multiplying with the advent of capitalism, in Capital from the tension between biophysical use-value and abstract exchange value, leading to market exchange Value. Meanwhile, however, from different angles, postcolonial and feminist authors have done everything they could to disrupt easy dichotomism, and with some success.

Can Marx labour theory of value not be problematized as well? A similar movement is already ongoing with regard to the Anthropocene and the division between nature and culture. Take any Western nineteenth century newspaper, compare it to one from today, and in a simplified sense, the observation is as follows:.

In our times of ecological crisis the disintegration of Platonic divisionism seems unavoidable indeed. What emerges is a pluriverse , to use the term that Stengers adopted from William James, in which the focus lies on experiential complexity instead. In it, the division and then marriage of two worlds remains a respected stabilizing procedure, useful for reproducing the status quo if need be. Also the working out of a coherent order, generated with dualisms, can be acknowledged.

Crucially added to the equation however is the observation that division, marriage and visionary illusions of Unity and Value are always either preceded or followed by a complex multiplicity, and can always breakdown or move forward into to it: realities always also consists of other animated entities, whether of a physical, linguistic, ideational, non-living, human, or biological character, held together in precarious semiotic ecologies.

Dichotomy, with Schmitt and James, systematizes and then de-politicizes them which, with James and Latour, must surely be considered a wonderful and necessary process, but can never lead to a single and stable systematics that fully monopolizes experienced reality. To remain with Marx, the questions pose themselves.

Does the distinction between nature and culture, objective and subjective, not precede and enable the tension between exchange value and use value—and hence the abstraction of market Value? Did the mechanisms Marx described not above all assume a stable dichotomy between exploitable passive objects and exploiting active subjects? If state violence and appropriation of biophysical objects have something to do with it, what happens if, in the Anthropocene, biophysical objects themselves provide for a political point of view?

And what if the means of production turn out to be indistinguishable from the proletariat? At this point, then, after referring to postcolonial theory, integrating East-West problematics, and a gesture toward Marx, we can safely return to where we started: in Eastern Europe. It is hardly surprising any longer that the meltdown in Chernobyl, the meltdown of the state socialist structuralism, the disintegration of the establishment overall, and the heyday of political ecology in the region all coincided.

The radioactive particles in the Dnepr, the poisonous industrial clouds thriving over Ruse, the threatened ecosystems of the Danube, the dying forests in Czechoslovakia all actively acted, chained with human outsiders, into the decay of Cold War dichotomy and modernist Marxist-Leninism, questioning the legitimacy of its doctrinal methods, theoretical Vision, static terminological toolbox, and proposed way of life.

Doing away with narrowly linguistic discourse analysis and especially with Critical Realist schemes is absolutely required for grasping the interrelations here however. Afterwards, it is then even less surprising that Central and Eastern European politicians, in grave need for new perspectives models, categories, theoretical schemes to orient themselves quickly turned to the most promising, spirited and fashionable provider of such and so at the time: the neoliberal movement.

In many countries it was written in law already before the Summit, by the anti-communist opposition of the s that now came to be in charge Vargha, ; Bernstein, New standardized responses to the environment were now available, and with them the new establishment was able to successfully pacify and neutralize ecological problems once again for the next two to three decades.

But surely, never forever. Palgrave Communications. Harman, ; Bennett, For a great history of materialism from a discourse analytical perspective, from Marx to Latour: Beetz Although his work has often had such an effect, Derrida was very far from saying that the whole of reality is reducible to language. Les styles de Nietzsche , p Bernstein, This means, in turn, that they tend tap the neutralizing power of the dichotomies in one or more of the Zentralgebiete.

In our times, at least from the social-democratic left to the conservative right, the techno-economical domain is by far the most popular for doing so: functional vs. In this regard, the different French schools of pragmatist sociology, under the marker of sociologie des controverses , partly emerging in the slipstream of the work of Latour but certainly not limited to him, is highly informative.

The works of Barthe or Chateauraynaud for example, , , , for example, are rich in examples and insightful schemes close to Fig. This is not the place to discuss the terminological repertoire of ANT in more detail. For those wanting to become acquainted with what has been written under the spectre of ANT so far, however: the Science Studies Centre of Lancaster University, the home base of John Law, has set up a great portal, conveniently giving entries to ANT literature by subject matter Science Studies Centre, This resonates with the work of Bernard Stiegler, and especially McKenzie Wark, with regard to transitivity.

Hence the time has come to admit that we have never been modern. First discussed in the s, it made its breakthrough after an article in proposing the term in Nature Crutzen, Also: Deleuze [], p. Note that Chateauraynaud is careful to differentiate himself from Latour, among other things by maintaining or re-introducing a two-fold experience of reality, due to the different temporalities involved in objects, discourses and processes, leading to ambivalent judgments or ambiguous practices.

The prisoners are only able to see the cave wall. Behind them is a fire, and in between the prisoners and the fire people are walking behind a wall and carry objects or puppets of men and other living things.

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In: Wodak R and Meyer M eds. Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Sage Publications: London, pp 87— Wodak R, Meyer M Critical discourse analysis: History, agenda, theory, and methodology, 2nd edition. Sage Publications: London, pp 1— Download references. The author would like to express his gratitude to the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique —FNRS , which has provided him with the financial support for this work.

The author finally thanks Francis Chateauraynaud for reading and commenting on an earlier version of this piece, which has sharpened it significantly. Correspondence to Pepijn van Eeden. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4. Reprints and Permissions. Materializing discourse analysis with James, Schmitt and Latour. Palgrave Commun 3, Download citation. Received : 16 November Accepted : 20 April Published : 15 June Palgrave Communications Advanced search.

Skip to main content Thank you for visiting nature. Download PDF. Subjects Environmental studies Language and linguistics Philosophy Politics and international relations Science, technology and society. Figure 1.

Politicization according to Hay. Full size image. Figure 2. PART 1 controversies Controversy on climate: The reference of Chantal Mouffe Some time ago I had the honour to interview Chantal Mouffe, for a magazine outside of academia, mostly as the result of her role in the wave of leftist populism that rolled over Spain and Greece Van Eeden, The following presents a fragment from the transcript: CM: Nature is a discursive construction.

CM: Yeah, yeah, yah. The debate about identity is relevant to International Relations theory, mainly the subfield of International Security Studies, because Laclau and Mouffe bring out identity as a consequence of discursive hegemonic strategies.

Hegemony, in turn, has been studied in IR from a materialist perspective and not a discursive one, as the theory presented by Laclau and Mouffe attests. The first studies of hegemony in IR focused on coercive resources i.

Eva Herschinger identifies two examples of traditional theories of hegemony in IR: the theory of hegemonic stability, and the neo-Gramscian school. According to her, the theory of hegemonic stability employs the term hegemony to explain the origins and functions of the post international economic order, conceptualising it as a structure organised around a single dominant country — the hegemon — with leadership responsibilities and privileges.

Adherents to the neo-Gramscian school include Robert Cox , who conceptualise hegemony as more than the dominance of a given state in the international system Herschinger Although hegemony is a form of dominance, it is interpreted as the expression of a broadly based consensus that becomes manifest in the acceptance of ideas, and is supported by material resources and institutions Cox Neither of these approaches uses discourse theory or identity to explain the international politico-economic order.

The issues examined in this article are relevant to International Relations because the research about international security requires an analysis of how discourses of danger construct the political identity of states, with consequences for foreign policies involving security Huysmans Understanding hegemony, and consequently the formation of identities, is vital when a discursive approach is adopted to analysing security issues.

To explain why some objects are regarded as threatened and others not is the goal of ST. I will examine the discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe, analysing some aspects of identity presented in their work. Against this background, the discussion needs to begin with an overview of ST, emphasising the shift from an objective to a discursive approach. According to Austin, there are some utterances that not only describe the world, but also interfere with it, and which cannot be analysed in terms of falsity or veracity.

For Buzan et al , security does not fall in the same dimension as normal politics. To securitise an issue is to place it in a domain where emergency steps must be taken to guarantee the survival of the referent object. The grammar of security and the social capital of the securitising actor are related to the formation of a chain of equivalences in security discourses. Social capital results from the rules that regulate the distribution of social capital within the security field.

Both concepts will be discussed later. According to Buzan et al. Power holders can always try to use the instrument of securitisation of an issue to gain control over it. According to Austin, speech acts can be classified as perlocutionary or illocutionary. The former refers to what happens bysaying something, and the latter to the results ofsaying something Austin An illocutionary act constitutes a meaningful utterance coupled with a performative force.

A perlocutionary act is a meaningful utterance coupled with a certain force that brings about an unconventional effect. ST makes use solely of the illocutionary act Floyd Those points raise the issue of whether securitisation is a self-referential or intersubjective process Balzacq She rejects the idea that securitisation could be an inter-subjective process between a securitising actor and certain audience. She adopts a self-referential perspective on securitisation, emphasising that in questions of national security, the power to securitise is solely vested in official political authorities Floyd I take the position that, using a discursive approach, with an emphasis on identity and hegemony, discussions about the self-referential and intersubjective aspects of securitisation can be theoretically mitigated.

According to Laclau, those sedimented practices are hegemonic discourses that are partially fixed. What needs to be understood is that securitisation can only take place when based on certain sedimented discourses that enable the emergence of certain security issues.

Aiming to widen the spectrum of security issues, the Copenhagen School proposes other elements besides the state as entities to be protected: individual, society, environment, to name just a few. He deconstructed the notion of national security, and extended its meaning beyond the military arena.

Besides the state, he identified three other units to which the concept of referent object could be applied: the individual, the region, and the international system. He also presented society, economy, and the environment as elements of the security discourse Buzan Therefore, a referent object could be anything whose survival could be threatened, thereby justifying exceptional measures to protect it. I will now turn to Laclau and Mouffe to outline a post-structuralist approach to the securitisation process.

These authors are renowned for their theoretical support of poststructuralism. The discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe: hegemony and the ontology of identity. In the strand of discourse theory used to develop this article, identity is contingent, lacking an essence, and understood as a subject position taken inside certain discourses Laclau and Mouffe I have to start with the notion of sign definition introduced by Saussure , regarded by Howarth 24 , among others, as the basic theory of post-structuralism to explain language, and how meanings are created, Saussure uses the notion of sign, formed by a signifier and a signified.

The signifier is an acoustic image, and signifies the meaning given to it. The signified, nonetheless, cannot be understood in positive terms, as if it had a straight relationship with the signifier. Rather, meaning is relational, with the signified having a direct dependence upon other signs Saussure Saussure compares language to a game of chess. His argument is that the pieces, by themselves, are not elements of the game.

They have no significance or meaning outside the context of the game; it is only within the game that they become real, concrete elements endowed with value Saussure His argument is that, following an anti-metaphysical perspective, language has no fixed centre or origin. Therefore, he concludes that the absence of the transcendental signified extends the domain and the play of signification infinitely Derrida Whereas Saussure fixes the meanings inside the system, Derrida deconstructs his theory, stating that if language has no given origin or centre, the infinite play of significance and difference produced excess and lack at the same time.

Excess, because the meanings are not restricted to the system itself; lack, because the system can never be closed upon itself Derrida ; Howarth Agreeing with Derrida, Laclau and Mouffe argue that meanings cannot be fixed permanently due to conflicts in the social field that defy the meanings hitherto established Laclau and Mouffe All objects are objects of discourse, as their meanings depend on a socially constructed system of rules and significant differences Howarth and Stavrakakis 3.

This lack is the driving force behind the formation of discourses, and the struggle for hegemony among them. Discourse theory is not simply an idealist assumption that rules out materiality from the analysis of phenomena. Discourse incorporates material as well as ideational factors Hansen Hence, I can only understand reality in terms of the discursive field in which I am situated.

For Laclau and Mouffe , hegemony constitutes a process that fixes certain meanings, making them seem natural. The antagonism between discourses produces new meanings, countering existing ones in a counter-hegemonic process. Gramsci 15 holds that the choosing and criticism of a world vision are also political acts. Hegemony is about the establishment of a world conception by a specific social group, and is therefore a political act.

For Gramsci, the hegemonic process is the moment when a certain group becomes aware that its own corporate interests transcend the limits of the purely economic class, and can and must become the interests of other subordinated groups too Gramsci Disconnecting from a rationalist research programme, in which identities could be seen as variables to interfere with causal effects King et al.

One of the main thrusts in post-structuralism is to counter metaphysics and its essentialism. The constitution of any identity is based on the exclusion of that which denies it, and this exclusion is a political fact, says Laclau Therefore, being an act of power, social identity has to be studied through the investigation of the power mechanisms that make it possible Laclau According to the discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe, the subject cannot be the agent of social change:.

Therefore, the discursive conditions of possibility are determined by the establishment of hegemonic discourses which imply the formation of identities through the logic of equivalence and difference. Those logics permit the analysis of the Self and the Other. Herschinger 7 argues that the Other does not necessarily constitute a threat; according to her, there are many degrees of otherness. This is relevant to an explanation of how some issues can shift, and others not, from normal politics to the realm of securitisation requiring from then on the use of extreme measures.

Explaining the difference between antagonism and agonism, Mouffe asserts that in an antagonistic political environment there are enemies, whereas in an agonistic one, there are adversaries. In contrast with an agonistic environment, in a fight against enemies, no set of rules regulate the procedure of the actors Mouffe 20, As an example, Mouffe cites the George W. Although the international system is anarchic, I agree with Keohane 54, 55 that international relations operate within an issue-structure system.

Those discourses produce a set of rules which individual states then incorporate into their domestic fields, via political decisions by elites with a bearing on their internal judicial and legislative systems. This set of rules permits the states in question to conduct their disputes in an agonistic environment as adversaries, and not as enemies.

In their book entitled Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, Laclau and Mouffe introduce some significant conceptions of hegemonic strategies and the practice of articulation:. The structured totality resulting from the articulatory practice, we will call discourse. The differential positions, insofar as they appear articulated within a discourse, we will call moments.

By contrast, we will call element any difference that is not discursively articulated Laclau and Mouffe The practice of articulation comprises the construction of nodal points, which partially fix meaning. As laid out by Herschinger, a, b and c represent the themes that are articulated in the chain of equivalence Z. Each theme has its particularity as well as the universal signified that enables the relation of equivalence with other themes in the chain.

Z is the signifier that is tendentially empty, as it has emptied itself of its particular content, thereby representing the chain as a whole, being also part of it. The formation of the chain of equivalence produces an antagonistic frontier as its projects its lack onto something external, an antagonistic force that, in turn, forms the antagonised chain of equivalence Herschinger Herschinger explains that both logics display the existence of an external element that is referential to equivalence or difference, called a nodal point in discourse theory.

The study of these logics enables the researcher to understand how a given practice in a given discourse is instituted or contested. The logics of difference and equivalence are present in the discourse in the sense that one presupposes the other. Whereas the logic of difference distinguishes among the elements of a discourse, the logic of equivalence equalises those differences, thereby creating an antagonistic frontier.

Despite interacting in a complex manner, neither dominates the discourse entirely, for only partial fixations of meanings are possible Herschinger While a hegemonic project employing the logic of equivalence seeks to divide the social field condensing meanings around two antagonistic poles, a hegemonic project employing the logic of difference attempts to weaken and dislocate a radical antagonistic polarity by striving to push such a divide out to the margins of society Howarth and Stravakakis In order to examine securitisation, understood here as the establishment of hegemonic discourses about security issues, it is necessary to comprehend how certain themes can function as nodal points and empty signifiers, thus enabling them to lead a chain of equivalence, and form a hegemonic discourse.

The political construction of identities, via the creation of hegemonic discourses, involves the production of empty signifiers that will function as nodal points Howarth Nodal points and empty signifiers are used interchangeably in the post-structuralist literature. My standpoint is that nodal points need to be tendentially empty. Hence, empty signifiers are potential candidates for functioning as nodal points. The emergence and functioning of empty signifiers require three theoretical conditions: the availability of potential empty signifiers; their credibility as a means of signification; and the presence of strategically placed agents who can construct and deploy empty signifiers Howarth ; Laclau The availability and credibility of empty signifiers have to do with securitisation in the sense that they represent the kind of security issues that can be problematised, creating another security discourse, and placing the issue in question in the realm where emergency measures are required.

Howarth presents these rules as social and political logics. The former are conditioned and historically specific systems of sedimented practices, and the latter refer to special kinds of practices that constitute and contest the social logics. They condition the emergence and character of the rules governing any particular social logic.

The political logics are the discursive hegemonic strategies outlined by Laclau and Mouffe , whereas the social logics are the range of sedimented practices Laclau It is evident that this type of analysis will result in a conception of the Other. Independent of the security issue to be analysed, those concepts are still relevant because, in the end, the policies in question — even those related to human, societal or environmental security — will be planned and executed by the state Buzan Their availability is verified by the simple existence of the elements per se.

Regarding their credibility, it is necessary to analyse the types of articulation within the discursive field that give value to the concepts in question. This value results from what Derrida 7 calls iterability, i. The closer the degree of otherness gets to the figure of the radical Other, which represents an existential threat to a certain community, the more exceptional measures will be tolerated Herschinger While Herschinger was not primarily concerned with layered structures, she investigated how hegemonic discourses about international terrorism and drug prohibition were construed.

I see this as an example of research that uses a particular methodology to describe the formation of discourses. The same approach can be used to check, in an ST perspective, the possibility of the emergence of security discourses. Herschinger sought t establish the frequency of occurrences and co-occurrences of certain themes in public documents, in order to determine the formation of chains of equivalence and, consequently, verify the creation of hegemonic discourses.

Drawing on the number of occurrences of certain themes, she selected potential nodal points. Her next step was to verify which selected themes were tendentially empty, a necessary condition for leading the elements to a process of identification. The emptiness can be inferred by the frequency of co-occurrences, which demonstrates the capacity of some themes to renounce their particularity in order to identify with other elements Herschinger Bourdieu resorts to language and communication to show that structure and agency are not the only elements capable of explicating the nature of society.

In respect of language, he develops the concept of power relations in order to demonstrate that, in a socially structured interaction, agents communicate in a field where social positions are already objectively structured Bourdieu The hearer is not the one who listens to the other as a complementary element in the interaction, but the Other in a power relation that reproduces the unequal distribution of power in global society. Language is not only an instrument of communication, but also one of power.

People seek, through language, to be trusted, obeyed, respected and distinguished Bourdieu Therefore, in seeking to understand the concept of habitus, it is important to bear in mind that, in contrast with the theory of Laclau and Mouffe, Bourdieu concentrates far more on the linguistic or symbolic capital distributed inside the field than on the process of discourse formation itself.

To develop the concept of habitus , Bourdieu resorts to an ancient scholastic idea that emphasises past learning. According to Ortiz:. Past learning performed by repetition has an unconscious consequence, a forgetting of history, which history itself produces through the embodiment of objective structures. That said, Bourdieu defines habitus as systems of durable and transposable dispositions inclinations that function as principles of the generation and structuring of practices without, in any way, being the product of obedience to rules, and not presupposing a conscious aiming at ends Bourdieu Therefore, Bourdieu makes it clear that besides the explicit norm or rational calculation, there are other principles that can generate social practices Bourdieu One of the purposes of this article is to show that the concepts introduced by Bourdieu can also be explained in a post-structuralist perspective.

To this end, Howarth usefully cites authors with a post-structuralist ontological orientation, i. He cites a text of Bourdieu who, alongside Laclau and Mouffe, is regarded as a theorist who developed the notion of practice focusing on discourse Howarth Body hexis speaks directly to the motor function, in the form of a pattern of postures that is both individual and systematic, because linked to a whole system of techniques involving the body and tools, and charged with a host of social meanings and values […] Bourdieu 87, emphasis in original.

In their view, discourse is a hegemonic articulation that establishes meaning within a certain field Laclau and Mouffe For Bourdieu, discourse can only exist as long as it is socially acceptable — i. An institution defines the conditions that must be fulfilled in order for a speech act to be effective Bourdieu 8. Therefore, the weight of different agents depends on their symbolic capital, i.

According to Bourdieu , field is. This universe is the place of entirely specific struggles, notably concerning the question of knowing who is part of the universe. The relations of force inside fields play themselves out based on the struggle to accumulate different sorts of capital Howarth Bigo and Tsoukala, for instance, state that security issues are dealt with by professionals in a specific field, aimed at the management of unease.

Therefore, the securitisation process is a political and social construction related to speech acts. But these speech acts are not decisive, for they are the result of structural competition between actors with different forms of capital and different degrees of legitimacy over contradictory definitions of security as well as interests Bigo and Tsoukala Bigo and Tsoukala agree with Buzan et al.

However, they disagree that securitisation is about survival; instead, they argue that it is located at a level above normal politics, therefore requiring the adoption of exceptional measures, and that securitisation is self-referential.


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Discourse as Social Interaction Vol. London and New Delhi: Sage. Discourse and Beyond? In view of technological developments and ecological upheaval, objects and things are bound to become ever more pressing in the policies and politics of the years to come, and enlarging the current domain of political analysis, for taking them into account properly, is of particular urgency.

From the current discourse analytical perspective, however, there are particular intricacies and barriers in place for doing so. The attempt to explicate these intricacies and barriers, in the current article, arose from an ongoing research project to the remarkable wave of politicization of ecological issues in communist Central and Eastern Europe toward , and their subsequent depoliticization in the s. From the s onwards, similar to Western Europe and the United States, a growing number of state agencies, writers, civilians, groups, and other networks in state socialist Europe started to articulate great worry on a range of ecological problems, from water pollution to industrial waste problems.

In the s Marxist-Leninist discourse had become hollow and its modernizing pathos farcical—even for the much of the establishment. At this point ecological issues evolved into strategic gathering points for oppositional forces. Not only did they offer safe because assumedly politically neutral niches for opposition, the claim to scientific objectivity was also one of the core pillars of state socialism, and could now be questioned by pointing to the pertinence of real ecological issues.

Eco-political agendas were pushed by anti-communist activists, scientific networks, reformist party factions, official scouting clubs, state conservation agencies, church networks and anarchist initiatives—and although nowadays largely forgotten, ecological controversy strikingly often played a key role during the revolutions of , most obviously in Hungary Danube waterworks controversy , Estonia phosphate mines controversy and Bulgaria Ruse air pollution controversy. The eco-political themes of the late s gradually moved to the background.

Ecological political parties were founded with great anticipation but were almost entirely unsuccessful. Jacobsson and Saxonberg, ; following Lang, To this backdrop my research has been preoccupied with the question of politicization and de-politicization of ecology—or, as Marc Elie and Laurent Coumel put it, with ecologization and de-ecologization Marc Elie, personal communication, 15 May In the search for an alternative, an interpretivist, social constructivist, discursivist line of approach was taken up as a matter of course—but this soon proved to produce its own problems: the studied processes induced roles for objects in the analysis which could not be grasped with the existing discourse analytical terminology, methods, or approaches.

Yes, discursive processes were of crucial importance, but had actual ecological issues—the radioactive particles in the Dnepr, the chemical clouds thriving over Bulgarian Ruse, the threatened drinking water aquifers linked to the Hungarian Danube—not also played themselves some role in their own politicization? In the first section, I aim to find out on the character of the barriers at play.

For doing so, I rely on the open ethnographic orientation as employed in sociological science and technology studies STS for studying scientific communities—which is suited perfectly for the sort of jargon-free but in-depth interdisciplinary discussion this journal is aiming for. With a small excerpt from an interview with the great political discourse theorist Chantal Mouffe, I start off with a major challenge for the radical constructivist position of the Essex school of Discourse Theory DT , over strategic positioning in embattling climate scepticism.

The empirical data consists of field observation, secondary observational notes, and the written literatures, discourses, and behavioural patterns of the discourse analytical community itself. CDA, on the other hand, dismisses post-structuralist DT under the argument that it fails to explain social stability. Closer inspection then demonstrates how in CDA the Bhaskarian critical realist worldview, which propagates the separation of discourse from a realm of structural relations, is of archetypical standing.

However, it then turns out that this structural realm is conceived as intransitive, transcendental, and invisible—thus blocking any sensibility toward biophysical and material actors ever more effectively, and hence failing to acknowledge them as co-shaping political processes, let alone as pro-active mobilizing forces. Footnote 2 For the current discourse analytical community, they remain important potential entry points, and forgetting their inspiration seems altogether unwise cf.

Vaughan-Williams and Lundborg, That said, in expanding the critique on both linguistic reductionism and critical realism in discourse analysis today, I move away from the above usual suspects, and aim instead to associate new and perhaps surprising figures with the turn to materiality in political analysis that is, as so far developed by Benett, ; Braun and Whatmore, ; Coole and Frost, ; Vaughan-Williams and Lundborg, It is important to note that, in this second section, I am not elaborating any method, let alone a theory, which is yet another limitation of this contribution, and a possible alleyway for further research—as outlined in the third section of this article paragraph Answering questions on method.

With more honour for the titled intellectuals than myself, I merely outline a three-stepped procedure with which discourse analysts could attempt to break through the division of the world between a political discursive-linguistic realm and a neutral one of objects, with which the problems sketched out in the first part can be overcome, in terms of broad analytical approach.

For analysts of discourse, adopting this stance means a fundamental departure from the anti-empiricism of both DT and CDA, but turns out not at all at odds with DTs differential ontology, its agonistics, radical pluralism, and its emphasis on contingency and historicity. It does however open up the space to take actual objects into account—through perceptual experience—while remaining attentive to internally coherent systematizing as always inadequate but crucial: pragmatically emphasizing the importance of perspectives, structuration, organization, models, measurements, and even metaphysical theorizing for orienting ourselves.

Claiming the empiricist tradition while doing so, moreover, is potentially of explosive strategic value in the battle for hegemony in contemporary social and political science. The second step consists of reconfiguring what discourse analysts tend to take as the distinctive characteristic of the discursive realm: the political, politics, and politicization.

In addressing this point, I amend a scheme on politicization by Colin Hay—another prominent follower of Bhaskarian critical realism Hay, ; Figs. In , the atmosphere in the Bulgarian town of Ruse did not politicize simply because it entered the domain of the established political class. Rather the opposite: it politicized when a new element presented itself—chlorine—which could not be integrated, neutralized or pacified by the established system in place. If it turns out to be incapable of doing so, regime-change might well be in the air, as was the case in Bulgaria.

After this three-stepped procedure, the discourse analyst might have been sensitized for breaking through the boundaries of DT and CDA, and take the agency of animals, plants, storms or fabrics into account. In the final and third section, then, I try to consolidate this possible achievement, by discussing how it enables particularly strong resolves on the remaining controversies of the first section: formulating a decent strategy toward climate scepticism, and explaining social stability.

The break with this divisionism, today called for by the Earth itself, is bound to end contemporary capitalism as we know it—even if it problematizes established discourse analytical practice as well. Some time ago I had the honour to interview Chantal Mouffe, for a magazine outside of academia, mostly as the result of her role in the wave of leftist populism that rolled over Spain and Greece Van Eeden, I could not resist asking her a question that had sprang from my own research.

The following presents a fragment from the transcript:. PvE: Exactly, so this is where many environmentalists would disagree because they conceive nature, you know, in the tradition of Malthus, the Club of Rome, Limits to Growth: as something that imposes certain absolute limits.

If we do not take care of it the world, we humans as well as life on Earth will be destroyed. This suggests nature is something quite different than a discursive construction. CM: That nature is a discursive construction does not mean that there is not something out there which is eh But when we speak about it, then no: if we speak about it, then nature is not outside of discourse.

I mean the separation between the two: here I would definitely follow what Bruno Latour said, you know. Do you know his work? CM: But this is exactly why I think that, basically, one should not base ecological politics on science.

Mouffe, personal interview, 8 March, Brussels, On the bookshelves of virtually every environmental organization, although perhaps a bit dusty nowadays, stands a copy of Limits to Growth. This extremely influential report from was a product of early World System Science, which, on the basis of a number of graphs and tables, concluded that:.

Given the finite and diminishing stock of non-renewable resources and the finite space of our globe, the principle must be generally accepted that growing numbers of people will eventually imply a lower standard of living. Meadows et al. Those adopting radical constructivist position, however, appear to undermine such a conclusion, by drawing attention to its socially constructed character. Consider Greenpeace, only recently:. Tunmore, , for Greenpeace International. Greenpeace UK, Even if written with capitals, the Laws of Nature are discursive, and thus intertwined with political agonistics and power struggles.

To have a consistent argument, would Mouffe, and with her progressive constructivists in general, not have to agree, at least in principle, with those Trumpist US climate sceptics that draw climatological insight as a fear-mongering and repressive political discourse, a socio-political construction, subject to competition for power and hegemony, threatening our freedom? If so would social constructivism then not contribute to the disqualification of objective climatology, and endanger life on Earth by so doing?

Chantal Mouffe, for one, while answering all my other questions with immediate and abashing replies, conceded that, while upholding a radical constructivism, the strategic problem of climatology was a rather interesting one, but one that she had not yet studied that profoundly. She would be interested in it though, but referred me to the work of Bruno Latour for an answer. We will come back to Latour later. First, for further clearance of what is at stake here, we will have to discuss a wider controversy within the discourse analytical community, between on the one hand DT in the tradition of Mouffe and Laclau, and on the other CDA.

To see if the solutions provided by CDA are tenable, we need to move our investigation to the ontological level. Blaikie, : 6, brackets added; Law and Lien, : Footnote 3. Before starting with such a daring enterprise a preliminary note on complexity is in place: researchers drawn to one of the two schools quote, borrow, switch sides, collaborate and discuss extensively with those tending towards the other. Below I will concentrate on the Faircloughian tendency, which thus in no way represents the entire CDA community.

As we will see, the worldview explicitly adhered to by the Faircloughian tendency renders this urge well understandable and according to some pragmatic instructions, then, it follows that it is plausible that its worldview is to a degree shared all over the CDA spectrum Peirce, , Chapter 7.

DT analysts are typically claiming a post- Marxist and post- foundationalist stance, inspired by what has been called post- structuralism. They name the impossibility of a firm ground, structure, or stable identity as the very starting point of their analysis. Everything in the world is ultimately moving and contingent.

Indeed, agonistic radicalism and the redefinition of Gramscian political hegemony, as developed by Mouffe and Laclau, and crucial in all of DT, are inconceivable without this non- or post-foundational ontology. According to DT practitioners, then, our political preferences, our character and choices, our unconsciousness, as well as our scientific insight, are structured relationally like language, fluctuating and floating, changing intersubjectively.

This community traces its intellectual roots, its commitment to equality, and actual political allegiances, to the socialist tradition, but then associates with the triad Nietzsche—Heidegger—Derrida rather than with Marx, claiming that transcendental constancy is an illusion to be eliminated in favour of radical historicity. This assessment certainly provides important openings to better understand the emergence of political ecology more generally.

Therefore this approach can also be applied outside of Western Europe: in Africa, South America, for example—or in Central and Eastern Europe during state socialist times. Van Eeden, But as mentioned, it is still hard to really appreciate the agency of clouds, radioactive particles, or aquifers from this perspective. One could rightly argue that, when embracing radical contingency and a differential ontology, dislocations do not need to be accounted for any longer: intertextual chains in the symbolic realm of language are always incomplete, and change and difference take ontological primacy.

But should we really hold on to our simplified! Footnote 4 A quote from the work of Maarten Hajer, one of the most acclaimed and ground-breaking in employing DT to analyse environmental policy discourse, illustrates this problem. Although he is certainly correct overall, the sentence still rolls over the influence of rain itself , or rather over the set of acid chemicals that appeared in it, on its own politicization. Fairclough, and the DRA he co-designed, inspires on the British critical realism of Bhaskar and Gorski, which explicitly calls for the assumption of an intransient, transcendental relational structure as constituting the reality behind everyday appearances for an introduction: Sayer, ; Bhaskar, ; Gorski, If we are to reveal the structured reality of the world we inhabit, we must cast our gaze beyond the superficial realm of appearances, deploying theory as a sensitizing device to reveal the structured reality beneath the surface.

Hay, But then, is the circular utilitarian argument of Hay the only one for answering the theoretical steamroll of DT—that is, to the challenge posed by assuming radical contingency rather than an intransient structure? In CDA, Chouliaraki and Fairclough have perhaps delivered a more thorough answer in this regard. Building on earlier critiques on DT in a Third Way neo-Giddensian fashion from Nicos Mouzelis, : 20—38 , they argue for preserving traditional structuralism as the only way to explain empirical stability in human interactions.

According to Chouliaraki and Fairclough:. We need a concept of structure not as provisional but as relative permanence—open for change but with relative stability Chouliaraki and Fairclough, : The point is not entirely justified: from the approach developed by Laclau and Mouffe one can very well account for relative permanence one only needs to refuse an eternal one as well as a relatively stable institutional reality for post-structuralist discursive institutionalism: see for example, Moon, ; Panizza and Miorelli, To arrive at positive change of the ruling order, they argue, we first of all need to get these invisible constraints right: we need to find out on the invisible relational structures prolonging order even under huge incentives for change posed by growing income inequality, racism, ecological shock.

The approach of CDA practitioners to ecological questions, materiality, and biophysical object and things—clouds, particles, fabrics, aquifers, robots—can be construed along these lines as well: they are directly governed by this grand body of invisible structural relations, also known as the Laws of Nature. The articulated views regarding the relationship between the discursive and the non-discursive to a great extent echoed the main disagreement between Laclau and Bhaskar when they met in a similar debate in Essex, England, back in [ Laclau and Bhaskar, ].

First of all, they agreed that it existed. From the Bhaskarian critical realist line of approach, then, the answer to climate sceptics can be a clear no: rising sea levels are ultimately not a question of interpretation. Within the critical realist ontology it goes without saying that we should listen to climatologists, physicists and biologists, because even if their discourse is not entirely immune to privilege, gender, status, and power, and even if knowledge and access to knowledge are thoroughly enmeshed with discursive political constructions, their objects of study are separate from discourse, directly governed by Natural Law.

Unsurprisingly, then, also the attitude towards materiality and the objective is similar, even in what is arguably the most inductive and historicist branch of CDA: the Discourse Historical Approach of Ruth Wodak. The fallacy of uncertainty assumes that science is uncertain in respect of the existence, causes, consequences and avoidance of climate change, environmentalist recommendations are not convincing and, thus, it does not make sense to follow these recommendations.

Both fallacies can be discredited by a topos of numbers that refers to the vast majority of climatologists who agree that an anthropogenic climate change does exist with a very high degree of certainty. Wodak, : Relatedly while we should firmly stand with Wodak on pointing out both fallacies overall, in her analysis she misses out on accurately describing them.

Why should a degree of uncertainty not be allowed next to progressive policy based on a range of plain observations, such as the rise of temperature, seawater levels and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and their rather plausible interconnection by way of ingenious modelling? Her stance, moreover, enables Klaus to get away with his fallacy, as he can point to his correct depiction of science as reliant on uncertainty and emphasize the importance of freedom. Unsurprisingly, then, Wodak entirely refrains from expanding on the second fallacy on nature any further.

Here it is first crucial to remark that Klaus does not deny climate change. With such a worldview, then, if nature is climate change, it follows that no action against such change can ever be taken. Footnote 5 But from both perspectives, it is difficult if not impossible to conceive animal, vegetative or non-living actors to disturb pre-conceived perspectives themselves.

There are other, related problems too, of a more direct political nature. Take, for example, the relations between actual obesity, capitalist power-relations, and nutrition discourses. According to CDA, with the right theory, corporate discourses on nutrition can be critically analysed, to reveal the corruption and irrationality of the neoliberalism that regulates it.

Such assessments should reveal the fallacious premises of commercial nutrition discourses and educate the public, bringing them closer to rational conversation on the matter, thus influencing policymakers, which should then have the incentive to provide for progressive regulation. Even McDonalds manages to brand itself as healthy and green nowadays. CDA practitioners might then again give a critical account, of course, but must again do so retrospectively —indeed CDA is essentially a retrospective enterprise cf.

Latour, b. Global warming, rising sea levels, honeybee mortality rate, plagues of jelly-fish, or dying rivers may easily be given the same status as obesity in this regard. Indeed, under the Marxian spectre, CDA practitioners are likely to agree that global warming and obesity are similar metabolic problems that lay bare the bankruptcy of our current capitalist structures the argument of Foster et al.

Thus, these are the shared problems in discourse analysis: according to the one school, of DT, all articulated accounts on objects are always already discursive. Although this is obviously correct, it often leads to a floating linguistic reductionism that overlooks the pro-active role of actual biophysical objects. The other school, of CDA, asserts an extra-discursive reality, as the realm of both material objects and relational structures, on the basis of which it criticizes discourses—but this separation between the discursive and the extra-discursive entails the immobilization of the latter.

DT, on the other hand, warns more generally against the terror of empiricism in any narrow positivist setting, as this can only confirm what has been established to exist already, and bars us from thinking creatively. DT therefore envisions our only chance for improvement of our condition lies in redefinition or invention of words and categories. Hence it recommends theoretical introspection. Below a three-stepped solution is proposed that could help tie discourse analysis the actual Earth again, so to say, and in both cases, the above anti-empiricist stances present the most fundamental barrier to take physical, bodily, animal, mineral or atmospheric actors into account properly.

Second: turning to the controversial Carl Schmitt for re-orienting our understanding of the political and, from there, to amend some of the ruling notions on politicization. When this three-stepped trajectory has been followed, DTs circumvention and CDAs immobilization of material objects can be overcome, and we can move to the last section, in which this new sensibility toward objects is further consolidated by showing how it provides viable answers to the above other problems in discourse analysis over climatology and accounting for social stability as well.

First and foremost, let us move to the work of William James. James proposed to move to the actual stuff which makes up experience, whether in case of actual material objects like plants, fruits, minerals, animals, the honeybee, our own physicality, the mountain for the mountaineer, or for the geologist, quarks or atoms for physicist, but also in case of exclusively virtual things like intuitions, sadness and pleasure, religious experience, dreams, and so on.

He went on to treat structured thought and its products from the same line of approach, including logical reasoning, language rules, profit calculations, theories, hypothetic mechanisms on how the world works, Laws of Nature, ideological perspectives, the metric system or the hour clock, or potentially climate modelling as well, or indeed any internally coherent systematics. These all flow from attempts to make sense of experiences, and become part of it in a re-fractured sense, but never fully overlap with it: experience is always local and always impossible to reduce to a globalized scheme.

The thickness, concreteness, and individuality of experience exists in the immediate and relatively unnamed stages of it, to the richness of which, and to the standing inadequacy of our conceptions to match it, Professor Bergson has so empathically called our attention p. Here, then, inside the minimal pulses of experience, is realized that very inner complexity … You cannot separate the same from its other, except by abandoning the real altogether and taking to the conceptual system.

DT however must stop its Heideggerian resistance against the object and objectification per se : James certainly does not resist it, but rather embraces it. That systematization is always inadequate, does not mean that it is not absolutely required, certainly today, for proper orientation, enabling humans to communicate with each other and their surroundings.

Indeed, where would they be headed nowadays without the metric system or climate modelling—not to speak of basic mathematics? As Henry S. If things and objects are to be acknowledged as political agents, which is catastrophically inevitable nowadays, we have to look into what that actually means.

After adopting a radical empiricism, we must move to the question of politics, the political, and politicization. The dichotomies that generate systematic models and regulate institutional reality, apparently, have a powerful capacity to order, neutralize, and pacify our otherwise uncoded and freely shifting experience Feindschaft and Freundschaft , and then to police the status quo—whether through a religious or moral systematics Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam , aesthetic logic expressionism, realism, pointillism , or socio-economic models Marxian, Keynesian, Hayekian.

Again, for this reason, he is quite compatible with the pragmatism of James. Reading Schmitt helps a lot to break open the currently pre-dominant notions of what politicization entails. The critical realist political scientist Colin Hay, cited already in the first part of this article, gives a good example of the established understanding.

However, when looking at the politicization from a Jamesian-Schmittian viewpoint, the scheme must be reversed Fig. Here far less political antagonism is possible. Where there were any left, sharp edges are removed, and certain new notions, entities, or discourses gradually become gefundenes Fressen : controversies further de-politicize. Indeed, if functioning well, the political establishment constantly attempts to identify new elements for further neutralizing, integrating, crystallizing, categorizing, and bureaucratizing them: depoliticizing them ever further.

In both cases, things are then slowly integrated into its codified crust—naturalized, pacified, structured, crystalized, normalized. Politicization is rather what happens when institutions—take for example the Convention of Geneva, or market rationality—break down, tumbling from the air of necessity, or even universal status, onto the governmental crust, and from there descend into the heated public and private layers.

Politicization, or break-down of established order, thus happens in confrontation with some destabilizing other: a controversial new thing, actor, element, circumstance, group, and is necessarily risky or even dangerous. Besides the refugee crisis and the crisis over credit default swaps, the US election provides some good examples, in the personae of Trump and Sanders. Both argued to re-present actors and experiences excluded by the ruling establishment.

Footnote 7. It should be noted that in such instances the said processes of de-politicization start simultaneously: the new or formerly excluded entities ignite deliberation over the way the community is gathered, which goals it sets for itself, how these are best achieved, and, finally, what should from then on be included, and what excluded from the community. Differentiation from Schmitt can now flow from the realization that we could, in a Jamesian geste, embrace this slow and often difficult process.

In Schmitt joined those that disliked and opposed all existing procedures sui generis , favouring the breakdown rather than expansion of parliamentary order, leading to a return to the political in its most antagonistic, biophysical, violent form. A respect for politesse as such, for procedures of closure, of neutralisation of controversy, objectification, and gradual depoliticization is however very necessary for the persistence of any collective cf.

Latour, a : —, , ; cf. Chateauraynaud, ; : 3 —insufficient recognition of this was the deadly mistake of Schmitt, but also of Heidegger for example. The stability and closure it generates are only stages in a circular process, the outcome of past processes of gathering, deliberation and composing.

As every politician worthy of the name knows, the attempt to establish lasting peace is doomed from the start. Political order is a temporary theatrical exorcism of political antagonism as the ancient Athenians knew so very well, and something that constantly needs to be done anew. Mouffe, After taking up James and Schmitt, we are now well-prepared to take the final step and include biophysical things and objects in this processual view.

In this field, with a radical empiricist attitude rather than theoretical seclusion, a range of discoveries has been made that, for discourse analysts, might at first be difficult to grasp, but then pleas strongly in favour of a radical constructivism, or rather post-constructivism. This included ethnographical accounts on how moderns managed to establish their modernity by installing a strict dichotomy between pre-modern and modern, subject and object, and how they view and deal with things, biophysical objects and objectivity per consequence.

For this work to evolve the critique on structuralist linguistics and semiotics in the s was of great importance, which forms a major point of overlap with DT. They had never been reducible to each other, of course, facing very different temporalities, in different orbits with very different strong connections closer by—yet they had always related to each other in an ecosystemic-social-intertextual way.

This enabled them to become the dominant geo- and biopolitical force today, but precisely with the near totality of that dominance, they became increasingly unable to ignore the hybrids they produced but transgress the modern dichotomies—from ocean acidification to robots to superbugs. With Stengers:.

The only singularity of political ecology is to explicitly assert, as a problem, the inseparable relation between values and the construction of a relationship within a world that can always already be deciphered in terms of values and relations. Stengers, : With this insight discourse analysts can finally come to terms with materiality and biophysical actors. While doing so the political sensibilities of discourse analysts may come in useful, moreover. Material semiotics and ANT have often been critiqued for their lack of self-conscious politicality, and undoubtedly they have shown a tendency to regress into fashionable but all too neutral descriptions of actor-networks.

Indeed, does this approach not present us the most radical participatory equalitarianism imaginable? To their defence, Carnap, Hempel, Quine, Dhal, Skinner, and their inheritors in quasi-hard sociology and political science, also advocated against dividing science between the subjective humanities and objective physics—the former covering the socio-political realm of discourse, the latter covering lawful material neutrality. They assumed a Newtonian world, however, and assumed a single and invisible body of stable rules as governing the biophysical object, like critical realists.

In retrospect, then, they were not empiricist enough : a priori of actual experience, they assumed a single Theory of Everything, which nowadays turns out to be problematic precisely within the domain of contemporary physics, by the incompatibility of quantum field theory and general relativity. Today, under the failure of single Theory of Everything in physics , the premises of the ecological shock, and the critique on structuralist semiotics, their banner has become utterly problematic, or even ridiculous.

Chateauraynaud, , n3. Footnote 9. We have at this point discussed a three-stepped procedure which, hopefully, helps the discourse analyst to increase her sensibility for materiality, and breaks ignorance over biophysical objects as political actors. In this third and final section, we shall see how this breakthrough can be further consolidated, by providing answers to the two other major challenges so far: on formulating a decent strategy toward climate scepticism, and on CDAs challenge to DT to take stability into account, even under huge incentives for change.

Along the way, some questions on method will be discussed, and we then end this contribution by reviewing Marxian critiques on the Anthropocene. With the above three-stepped procedure CDAs problem with social stability vanishes. To repeat the above quoted:. Now that ecological crises leads to questioning the division between the human and bio-material world, in proper Anthropocenian fashion, it appears we can meet their requirement in the most elegant of ways: relative to humans, whales are far more predictable overall, and stones are rather stable indeed.

This requires that material objects, like any other, become recognized as historical, temporary, relative, contingent, and all of this with humans and their discourse rather than apart from it—so that their appearance as stable relative to humans remains recognized as well.

The parenthesis that we can call the modern parenthesis during which we had, on the one hand, a world of objects, Gegenstand, out there, unconcerned by any sort of parliament, forum, agora, congress, court and, on the other, a whole set of forums, meeting places, town halls where people debated, has come to a close. What the etymology of the word thing — chose, cause, res, aita —had conserved for us mysteriously as a sort of fabulous and mythical past has now become, for all to see, our most ordinary present.

Things are gathered again. Latour, b : , italics in original. Indeed, positing an eternal intransitive order was what hitherto stable nonhuman systems seemed to emulate, and thus seemed acceptable to many people. More importantly, perhaps, the relative stability of material like paper, metal and wood enabled and still enables the preservation and transfer of the constructions, regulations, orderings, institutions and establishments invented and maintained by those in power.

In the words of John Law:. Moses and Hammurabi literally carved them in stone, papyrus enabled St. Paul doing something lengthier, Justianus I then preferred the Codex, and contemporary hard-drives carry entire multi-national corporations, universities, and nation-states. Footnote Think of how successful fictional characters have much longer lives than individual human beings even in oral traditions, and we get a sense of how drastically stabilizing uploading or inscribing them upon objects can be.

It explains, also, the appearance of linearity in technological change—which is not pre-given at all: technologies can and have been destroyed and forever forgotten. To argue, on the observation of stability, for a priori acceptance of immobile transcendental structures, as Bhaskar, Gorski and critical realism either imply or explicitly propagate, now clearly becomes either anti-historicist regression, scholastic-intellectualist laziness, or outright authoritarian—altogether not that far from orthodox hermeneutical biblical traditions.

The question on method is one often returning one today, not least in the CDA community, as we have seen above. There is not much space left here to elaborate an entirely new method but luckily, then, this would also be beside the point: what the above three-stepped procedure suggests is not a new method, but rather 1 a loosening of the strict vertical boundary between the discursive-political and material-biophysical realm, which has made it impossible for methods, analytical roadmaps, models, and terminological toolboxes designed for the analysis and orientation of the former to be applied to the latter and vice versa; 2 a new horizontal boundary, disallowing methods, grids, analytical roadmaps or terminologies to disconnect from the controversies and areas they arose from by claiming single universal status, causing them to be applied unmodified and far too quickly on controversies and problems elsewhere.

What might at times be severely disturbing however, especially where critical realist influence is felt, is that this entails constant adaption, re-invention, or re-orientation of methods and toolboxes. Any overly abstract doctrinal analytical grid would immediately run the danger of invoking the sort of intransitive primacy of the ideational sphere which, in times of ecological crisis, must be avoided at all costs.

Let us accept Deleuze on radical empiricism in this regard:. Empiricism is by no means a reaction against concepts On the contrary, it undertakes the most insane creation of concepts ever. Empiricism is a mysticism and a mathematicism of concepts, but precisely one which treats the concept as object of an encounter, as a here and now Deleuze, []: xx. The strong and mostly negative measures developed by Latour can be of great help in this regard for example, To give an impression of what could then be caught and analysed, under this strange assemblage of James-Schmitt-Latour 20 and discourse analysis and otherwise after scale, circumstance and situation are grasped more carefully : take the politicization of clouds in Ruse in Bulgaria already mentioned.

Along the decade, the Marxist-Leninist models on catch-up modernization, which had been successfully installed after World War II, failed to provide proper orientation any longer and did hardly invigorate anybody, nor could centrally planned Marxist nation-state economics direct the real economy any longer. This produced an alienated younger generation unable to find satisfaction or project its ambition within the existing systems.

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The populist mode. According to a growing body of literature, typical examples of populist discursive practices include the reliance upon Manichean oppositions, romanticised and essentialist visions of the people, appeals to the multitude whilst excluding others and extreme simplification and moralisation Wodak In this narrative, the EU is personified and used to define Italy, by contrast, as a positive agent.

Italy and its voters are victimised and called to occupy their rightful role, again through an extreme simplification of political reality and a moralising, emotional rhetorical style. The technocratic mode. Two other distinctive discursive representations of the EU build, instead, on a technocratic mode. In both of them, the Union is reified and presented as a political arena or an administrative mean, through a typically functional argumentative style. Among the most common technocratic discursive practices are the use of legal and technical language, the emphasis on management, the scientifisation of socio-political phenomena and the self -representation of political actors as technical, impartial, neutral and interest-free Mc Kenna and Graham Secondly, Europe is also often presented as the only arena where the much-needed Italian reforms could possibly be implemented.

Once more, political issues are economicised and neutralised and the stress is put on credibility and competences. Interestingly, arguments from the two narratives were very often combined in the same source and by the same actor. These significant shifts in the public discourse of the most electorally successful of the European centre-left organisations evoke reflections on the tendency of main-stream parties to rely on the populist and technocratic discourses, both of which are potentially alien to party-based representative democracy.

Mc Kenna B. Renzi, M. Wodak, R. She is working on a thesis on the transformations of European left-wing parties, which emphasizes the role played by ideologies and ideational change. See all of this author's posts. Her research is entitled "Pouvoir constituant and the modern state: an analysis of constituent power's instrumental role in the organisation of modern politics". It traces the historical evolution of the idea of constituent power and aims at assessing the way in which it has been used to articulate the relation between people's political power and the state's central authority.

Indeed, because of their far greater numbers in the population, the total burden of gambling-related harm from low- and moderate-risk gamblers is higher. Researchers have also identified that the gambling environment is dynamic and fast changing [ 7 , 8 ].

In recent years, new products, services, and technologies such as mobile smartphone sports betting apps, electronic games machines EGMs , and fixed odds betting terminals FOBTs have emerged in Australia and the UK [ 9 ]. Furthermore, gambling is heavily marketed by the industry [ 10 , 11 ], and the policy and regulatory environment has become increasingly liberalised in countries both the UK and Australia [ 1 , 12 ].

Yet much extant gambling research focuses on pathological and problem gamblers [ 13 ]. Furthermore, whilst there is a wealth of gambling research focusing on individual behaviour, addiction, and cognitive impairment, there is a smaller but nascent corpus of knowledge considering the role of the wider socio-cultural, regulatory, and commercial environment that shapes and influences such behaviour [ 14 , 15 ].

As a consequence, harm reduction strategies could benefit from a broadening of perspectives to acknowledge both individual and socio-cultural influences on gambling-related harm. In this paper, we argue that to produce more effective and comprehensive ways of reducing gambling harm, the broader social, cultural, and regulatory environment in which gambling behaviour is produced should be acknowledged.

Therefore, to help inform gambling harm reduction strategies, interdisciplinary research is needed to understand the complex psychological, social, cultural, and structural influences on gambling practices [ 17 , 18 , 19 ]. Responding to the calls for broader socio-cultural perspectives in gambling research [ 20 , 21 ] this article introduces ideas from practice theory into the area.

Recognising the contributions that social practice perspectives have made in other areas of social research and harm reduction policy [ 22 ], we argue that framing gambling as a social practice can make discernible contributions to the field. Such insights can help inform gambling harm reduction strategies to protect individuals and communities. Our aim is to encourage gambling researchers to engage with the idea of gambling as a social practice and so to contribute to the development of a broader, interdisciplinary research field.

The remainder of this article is set out as follows. First, we appraise the existing gambling research landscape, and then introduce, define, and explain practice theory. Next, we outline how practice theory has been applied in other areas of social research and harm reduction policy and identify the utility of a gambling as social practice perspective. The subsequent section considers what a social practice agenda in gambling research may look like, and identifies some of the research questions, topics, contexts, and methodologies that may be used to carry out such research.

We then finish the article with some conclusions for gambling research, policy, and practice oriented towards harm reduction. Scholars coming from public health, social, cultural, political, and geographic perspectives have argued that gambling research would benefit from an expansion beyond psychology of individual behaviour perspectives [ 17 , 23 , 24 ].

Heretofore, there has been less attention paid to the social, political, cultural, and structural environment that shapes gambling practices, albeit work from these perspectives is becoming increasingly prominent [ 28 ]. The contemporary gambling research literature is also now a somewhat contested space. Critical scholars have drawn attention to the neoliberal infused political economy of gambling, examining how the gambling industry and policymakers have shaped the global gambling environment through a process of globalisation, liberalisation, marketisation, and exploitation of the poor [ 12 , 17 ].

However, scholars working from a normative perspective submit that such critique is politicised, ideological, polemical, and often lacking in empirical support, and argue that gambling is a legitimate global industry and consumer behaviour [ 29 ]. An advantage of a social practice theory perspective to gambling research is that it potentially offers a way to account for ideas aligned with the critical as well as normative perspectives through consideration of both structure e.

We argue that foregrounding socio-cultural as well as individual factors that influence gambling is important given the dynamism and increasing complexity of the gambling landscape, particularly within jurisdictions that have been subject to a period of liberalisation and deregulations in recent years [ 15 ].

Given a more relaxed policy and regulatory environment, it is no surprise that the marketing of gambling has been a prominent point of discussion in the literature [ 31 ]. Researchers have identified how gambling is now heavily marketed across a broad range of channels such as TV advertising, sponsorship, branding, and social media [ 10 , 11 ].

The marketing of gambling also utilises appeals to socio-cultural constructs such as rituals, mateship, winning and success, social status, thrill and adventure, hedonism, and sexuality [ 32 ]. As we explain in this article, these social constructs lend themselves well to a practice theory framework given its focus on social practices and elements of practice such as norms, rituals, and discourse.

Technological advances have also changed the gambling landscape [ 33 ]. Fixed odds betting terminals, a form of electronic gaming machine that allows gamblers to bet on the outcomes of games such as roulette and blackjack which have fixed odds and with the theoretical percentage return to gamblers displayed on the machines, were introduced in the UK in Automated gambling products that feature highly engaging game characteristics such as rich graphics and event-based sound effects, and in game information such as statistics, history, and betting options, are now a common feature in casinos [ 33 ].

Technological advancement of EGMs has also led to the development of some with embedded skill elements. The introduction of smartphone technologies has generated a dramatic development in the availability, functionality, and increasing use of online sports betting through mobile phone apps [ 36 ]. Mobile phone sports betting apps enable people to bet anywhere, anytime, and on anything. Research suggests that sports betting apps can be a prominent feature of social practices of gambling, and socialisation rituals among young people in Australia [ 20 ].

They attribute this popularity to their ease of use and their ability to be accessed alone or whilst with friends in a range of venues such as at home, at a sports fixture, or in the pub. Newer innovations such as bet-in-play features have further changed the dynamics of how, when, and why people bet on sports [ 37 ].

Research suggests that use of sports betting apps and Internet gambling in general appears to be integrated into everyday living activities and often in a social manner with friends or family [ 38 , 39 ]. This suggests that sports betting is also a socio-cultural as well as an individual psychological phenomenon [ 20 ]. Yet, there is a paucity of research that considers practices of sports betting using mobile phone apps [ 40 ].

Furthermore, the spaces and places in which gambling can occur are varied. As well as taking place in traditional venues such as casinos, bookmakers, and betting lounges in pubs—gambling can take place at home, on the bus, at a game, or even on the beach [ 21 ]. In an increasingly mobile and social landscape, gamblers are being increasingly connected to new forms of technology, to social networks, and to flows of information that may influence their experience of gambling, and their behaviours, in new and unforeseen ways.

We argue that each aspect of this dynamic new environment can be understood through the lens of practice theory. As we explain, practice theory offers a useful perspective for gambling research given its focus on various elements of social practice such as materiality, sociality, and discourse.

Across the social sciences, theories of everyday social practice have emerged, building upon ideas from scholars such as Bourdieu [ 41 ], Giddens [ 42 ], de Certeau [ 43 ], and Ortner [ 44 ]. Since the late s, the work of social practice theorists such as Schatzki [ 45 ], Reckwitz [ 46 ], and Shove [ 47 ] has gained considerable attention.

Such work focuses on the dynamics between structure e. Practice theory refers to a broad paradigm of theoretical and methodological socio-material approaches to understanding everyday social practices using a socio-cultural lens [ 46 , 48 , 49 ]. Practice theory provides a dialectic and relational framework for understanding mutual interactions between actors any person or object that has agency and the contexts and structures in which they operate.

Therefore, social practices refer to everyday or regular practices or habits such as consumption of food [ 50 ], using energy in the home [ 51 ], or gambling [ 20 ], and the way that these are typically and habitually performed in society [ 48 ]. Practice theory is now widely used as an approach across several social science disciplines including philosophy [ 46 , 48 ], sociology [ 51 , 52 ], anthropology [ 53 ], cultural studies [ 50 ], geography [ 51 ], and marketing and consumer research [ 54 ].

Practice theory considers humans as actors, who use their agency within the structures shaping various social practices [ 46 ]. Therefore, practice theory treats the abstract concept of social practices as the key unit of analysis. Although various actors and entities interact and overlap when practices occur, the primary focus in this approach is on the practices themselves and not simply on the individual human performers of a practice [ 55 ].

At the same time, practice theory offers a new way for thinking about how complex, embedded behaviours social practices such as gambling, can become habitual and routinised within different social contexts. The body and how it performs is a core element of practice [ 46 ]. Practices are routinised bodily activities, they consist of related behavioural acts that involve movements of the body. Our performance of social practices becomes embodied and we learn how to use our bodies to perform various practices through perception, learning, cultural acquisition through the senses and so on.

This embodied knowledge of how to use the body to perform a practice become habitual, part of our skill set, and shape our dispositions [ 41 ]. Take for example, the act of placing a bet on a horse race. A gambler may lift up and open a race guide with their hands, read the guide with their eyes, walk to a betting shop using their legs, fill in a betting slip using their hands, and watch the race using their eyes—here various movements of the body are required to perform the practice of betting on a horse race.

Another element of practice is the sets of mental activities used to perform them, and which require understanding of the world, desires to do something and associated emotional and affective responses and knowing how to do something. Taking the same example of betting on a horse race, this demands a desire to place a bet, knowing what a form guide is, where to find it, how to read and interpret it, where to place a bet, and emotional and affective responses to winning such as joy or excitement or losing the bet such as disappointment or anger.

In a sense, the body and mind are work together to help people perform social practices. Carrying out a practice also normally requires the use of materials—any objects or things that are needed to perform them. These materials are an element that serve as indispensable resources needed to perform any given social practice [ 47 ]. In our above example, the form guide usually found in a newspaper is required, as is a pen to fill in the betting slip, the betting slip itself is another material, and the betting shop and the building in which it is located is another set of materials.

Language and discourse are also an element of practice serve to influence how they are performed. Discourse can be explained as systems of thought comprising ideas, attitudes, actions, and beliefs that serve to construct social subjects and the social worlds that they relate to [ 56 ].

In practice theory, this can involve the use of certain words, terminology, phrases of forms of speech to talk about, discuss and frame the understanding of a social practice. In our example of betting on a horse race, language and discourse will often frame understanding of the conditions of the race course, the form of the runners and riders, the value in the odds on certain horses, tips on which horse might offer a good bet, and even how the placing of a bet is described—for example whether an each way bet or a bet to win on the nose is made.

Social norms, which can be explained as informal and unwritten rules that govern the behaviour of people, are an element that can also shape practices. Such social norms can influence whether the practice is performed in the first place, and how the practice is performed.

So, the desire to place a bet on a horse race may be shaped by social norms—for example when the Melbourne Cup in Australia or the Grand National in the UK is held, it is a normative expectation that people will place a bet on the race. Once the desire to place a bet has been realised, there are unwritten rules about how this is done, and how one should behave when placing a bet.

Spaces and places are elements that may also affect how a given social practice is performed. The social structures in which a gambler finds themselves may also influence betting practices. As an example, if family members, friends, or acquaintances are present and are also placing a bet then this may influence a person to place their own bet on the race. In the gambling context, social structures may also relate to the market and therefore in liberalised gambling markets, inducements to betting may be higher than under other social jurisdictions.

Furthermore, power which refers to the ability to influence or control the behaviour of people, and agency which refers to capacity of individuals to act independently and make their own free choices, are important elements of practice. For example, a person who has previously engaged in problem gambling may be tempted to place a bet on the Melbourne Cup and encouraged by a peer who is a dominant individual holding power and influence in a social group.

However, that person may employ their human agency to resist this temptation and decide to not place a bet. Finally, similar to other social science perspectives such as assemblage thinking [ 57 ], practice theorists argue that all of these various elements of practices are active, have agency, and therefore can affect the performance of practices and related social outcomes in different ways. As such practice theory assigns distributed agency among the elements of practice [ 42 ].

Practice theory helps supplement approaches that focus solely on human behaviour as understood through individual psychology perspectives, or macro-level analyses that focus only on social structures and their impact [ 45 , 58 ]. Instead, the approach being proposed here acknowledges both structure and agency but giving primacy to neither. Instead, the focus is on how practices are performed, and what elements constitute their performance.

It follows that these everyday practices are grounded upon, and embody in themselves, the ideological, temporal, spatial, and social orderings of the system [ 44 ]. At the same time, as individual actors performing social practices, they also reproduce and shape the larger organising structures and system of society.

As such, the performance of the social practices of gambling comes to be seen as something that is normal and routinised, embedded in the everyday rituals of life. These practices are shaped by environment and culture and yet also reinforce cultures of gambling.

Often these practice bundles form temporal sequences performed at specific times of the day, or days of week. For example, the morning routine of waking up, getting out of bed, showering, dressing, and eating is an example of one nexus of social practices. Or in relation to the gambling, this may occur concomitantly with practices of socialising, drinking alcohol, watching sport and so on.

Also, social practices can occur in social contexts in which other bundles of practices take place. Using the example of gambling as a social practice, this may be related to practices involving work e. Practice theorists have also drawn attention to how five various forces can frame a nexus of social practices [ 59 ]. First, attention is drawn to how certain phenomena such as affect e. For instance, a person experiencing anxiety is likely to perform various social practices like working and socialising through an anxious disposition.

And it could be argued that the march of neoliberalism, concomitant with globalisation, marketisation, and liberalisation, has suffused the nexus of practices that form the global gambling industry [ 12 ]. Second, certain objects or a specific practice can thread through a nexus of practices—for example caring for children may frame how various practices like cooking, cleaning, and washing may occur in a family household.

Third, the idea of largeness refers to how various social practices connect and form practice complexes from small e. Fourth, practice nexuses are subject to changing connections and shift and change in various ways over time, space, jurisdiction, and materiality. For example, as a person ages, has a family, moves location, or lives under different political and regulatory jurisdictions, the various practices they perform will be altered.

Fifth and finally, people act as practitioners of social practices and nexuses of practices and perpetuate and transform them through their actions [ 59 ]. Social practice ideas are now being used to research, understand, and inform policy and programmes regarding issues like public health and wellbeing [ 60 , 61 ], alcohol consumption [ 62 , 63 ], smoking [ 64 ], cycling [ 65 ], and energy consumption [ 66 ].

Researchers working in these areas have identified how practice theory can offer policymakers more nuanced understandings of social issues and direct policy in areas such as sustainable consumption, energy efficiency, obesity, and alcohol and tobacco consumption [ 63 , 64 , 67 , 68 ]. Furthermore, government and policymakers are beginning to engage with practice theory with submissions made to parliamentary enquiries [ 69 ], and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Scottish Government now co-funding research initiatives and developing policy initiatives based on these ideas [ 70 , 71 ].

Recently, researchers have identified the potential of practice theory for gambling research [ 63 , 72 ]. Embracing this potential, we set out some ideas for how practice theory and understanding gambling as a social practice can help inform the gambling research. Practice theory can help foster a shift in gambling research from a focus on gambling as related to individual choice, or as entirely configured by political, economic, and social structures.

This is possible because practice theory provides a way to acknowledge both structure and agency in gambling in which there is an acknowledgement of the body [ 51 ], mental activities, discourses [ 46 ], materials [ 73 ], social norms [ 47 ], and social structures [ 49 , 58 ].

These ideas are particularly relevant given the fast-changing gambling environment in which the political economy through neoliberalism, globalisation, liberalisation, markets and marketing, product and services, technologies, and social contexts of gambling is shifting [ 12 , 74 ]. Taking a practice theory perspective on gambling enables us to consider it not as a discrete behaviour, but to acknowledge gambling as a social practice.

Social practices of gambling may draw upon multiple elements such as bodies, discourses, norms, and materials in their performance, and gamblers themselves could be recognised as the carriers of practice. Furthermore, social practices of gambling may be bundled with other practices of everyday life such as drinking alcohol, socialising with friends, or watching sports. When we think about gambling, there is often a multiplicity of practicalities involved. People often have their own different ways of doing things, for example gambling alone at home, or in the pub with friends.

Also, there are socio-cultural narratives around how gambling can help foster mateship and togetherness, or discourses regarding competencies on how to gamble, estimating the odds are, game playing strategy, and how to respond to winning and losing [ 20 ]. The body is also used, a person may use their arms, hands, and eyes to read a form guide, or press the buttons on a fruit machine or mobile phone sports betting app.

Materials are used such as the mobile phone on which the app is loaded, newspapers and form guides to particular sports on which one may bet, and machines such as FOBTs, and physical buildings such as casinos. Social structures and agency also come into play—for example market regulations often dictate how, where, and when people can gamble, and gamblers may use their agency in social situations to influence the betting decisions of friends.

And as mentioned earlier, social practices of gambling are often bundled together with other social practices such as socialising, drinking, and enjoying sport. A key question here then is how can social practice theory perspectives inform gambling harm reduction initiatives? Existing gambling interventions often target individuals and their gambling behaviours [ 16 ], not social practices of gambling, how they are performed, what elements of practice are used to perform them, and how practices of gambling are carried and shaped.

Therefore, we argue that gambling harm reduction policy should reframe the central issue not as changing individual gambler behaviour, but as changing wider practices of gambling. This would require redefining the research field and understanding that gambling is not simply caused by the personalities, values, beliefs, and choices of gamblers. Instead, it would encourage us to focus on how practices of gambling develop, and how harm reduction policy and practice could be used to reconfigure the landscape in which gambling practices do or do not take hold, see [ 75 ].

A strategic and holistic harm reduction strategy for gambling using the lens of social practice perspective may instead focus on acknowledging and altering the availability, form, and interactions between all the elements of gambling practice.

For example, policies and programmes could seek to influence how the body shapes gambling practices, by regulating how gambling marketing and gambling products use design, visuals, colouring, and messaging to appeal to the senses. Policies and programmes that seek to work against the mental activities employed to routinely perform gambling practices by instead providing gamblers with the mental acuity to resist the urge to gamble in a problematic way, foregrounding the possible negative emotional and affective responses to problem gambling, and providing gamblers with other sources of emotional fulfilment through alternative leisure pursuits offers another possibility.

Policy restrictions on the spaces and places in which gambling may or can occur, and public discourse and media campaigns that seek to shape social norms and challenge the perception emerging in some countries that gambling is a normative practice offers another possibility. Policymakers also have the power to reshape social structures that influence gambling practices. The burgeoning gambling market found in countries such as Australia and the UK could be restricted through legislation and regulation.

Finally, harm reduction approaches that seek to reduce the power and influence of the global gambling industry and equip people with agency to resist gambling could also be explored. However, such suggestions would need to account for the power and influence of the gambling industry operating as a business to generate profits, and the role of governments who collect tax revenue from gambling activity [ 12 ].

Ideally, these interventions to shape and reshape the various elements that influence gambling practices would form a coherent and holistic overall strategy to tackle gambling-related harm. Practices are often shaped by multiple forces beyond the individual such as businesses, governments, various economic and social policies, and cultural and social trends.

In terms of mitigating the harms of gambling, this would necessitate a shift towards more holistic policymaking and harm reduction strategies that pay attention to these forces, and also consider how and why gambling practices interact with other practices of everyday life. Here we offer some propositions for what a practice theory research agenda for gambling might look like and invite other researchers to contribute to knowledge production in this area.

We do not claim that our suggestions offer a definitive and exhaustive list but will help identify some key areas of focus. To help set out a research agenda, we consider some key research questions, topics and contexts, constructs of interest, and methodologies for conducting social practice research on gambling to help inform harm reduction strategies.

A key element of social practice that could inform gambling research is a focus on bodies. The concept of embodiment focuses on understanding the relationship between the body, mind, cognition, and social practices [ 76 ]. It is argued that understanding what the body is doing when people perform social practices such as eating, washing, or in the case of this article gambling, can offer deeper insights about the performance of social practices [ 76 ]. People use their bodies in various ways when gambling, for example they use their eyes to view a game or read a form guide, their arms and hands to touch a screen or pull a lever, or they may rely on nerves or a gut feeling in their stomach to place a particular bet.

So, as well as focusing on how cognition shapes gambling behaviours, attention should also be drawn to how bodily movements influence gambling and may be altered to tackle problem gambling. Yet, existing gambling research says little about the place of the body in gambling and how embodiment shapes gambling practices. Social theorists have used embodiment perspectives to understand the social world that could inform gambling research.

As an example, body language and knowing looks among a group of gamblers could act to influence how members of the group act [ 20 ]. Gambling research on embodiment could therefore consider research questions on how bodies and mental activities influence the ways that gambling practices are performed, and what role the body plays in driving harmful gambling outcomes. Another important element of gambling practice that can form the focus for research is materiality. Gambling relies on the use of a range of materials, objects, and technologies such as mobile phones, apps, machines, cards, technologies, and rules and guides.

Social practice perspectives draw attention to the role and importance of materials in the performance of practices such as gambling. In effect, practice theory attaches agency and meaning to materials as they help shape practices. Gambling research could focus on mapping what, how, and why materials are used during the performance of gambling practices, and whether the removal of important materials can work to trammel harmful gambling.

Furthermore, language and discourse as elements of gambling practice offers warrant attention. For instance, researchers have highlighted how government and industry discourses frame gambling as a positive contributor to society, and problem gambling as an individual responsibility of addicted gamblers [ 16 ].

Extant research has also demonstrated how the gambling industry uses language relating to humour, mateship, success, and sexuality to shape social discourse [ 32 ]. However, discourse and language are also used to discuss specific gambling practices and the elements of these practices, for example sports betting may include discussions on how a game attended went or speculating on the outcome of a forthcoming match.

Further research on the language and discourse used by gamblers themselves could help add to the knowledge base here. Therefore, work that builds upon prior research can question how the discourses of gamblers themselves, as well as societal discourses, frame gambling practices. Social practice theory research could also develop increased understanding of how social structures, and power and agency influence gambling.

Such work would consider issues such as how do the dynamics between people and their social environment shape gambling practices. Existing gambling research has suggested that social group dynamics can have a major influence on gambling practices with power hierarchies among friendship groups shaping expectations on how to bet, how much to bet, and even how to spend winnings [ 20 ].

As some forms of gambling such as mobile sports betting become established as normative social behaviours, future research could consider questions such as how opinion leaders and influences may use their agency to shape the gambling practices of others within specific social groups. A practice theory agenda for gambling research could also focus on questions about how do spaces and places shape gambling practices.

Paying attention to the spaces and places of gambling is an idea that draws on well-established knowledge from the social sciences that space matters and plays a crucial role in shaping the social world and influencing social outcomes [ 77 , 78 ]. Space is not something that is fixed and universal.

Indeed Doreen Massey [ 77 ] argues that places do not have single but multiple identities, they are not frozen in time but are dynamic, and places are not enclosures with a fixed inside and outside. Sports betting using mobile phone apps can now be carried out in virtually any space and place in which there is access to the web through Wi-Fi or a mobile phone data network.

Therefore, the spatial element of gambling, and particularly mobile sports betting could form an interesting focus for research. Currently, little is known about how the spatiality of mobile phone sports betting influences gambling practices and gambling-related harms. Specific research questions that may be considered here include, does the ability to bet virtually anywhere led to increased risk and harms to gamblers, families, and the community see [ 20 ].

Or, research could ask—how does gambling occur in certain spaces and not others, and why see [ 80 ]. Building upon the idea of how spaces and places influence sports betting practices, research in this area could also draw upon a mobilities perspective [ 81 ].

Mobilities is a research paradigm in the social sciences that explores the movement of people, ideas, and things and considers the broader social implications from this [ 82 ]. Mobilities research on other social practices such as driving, food consumption, and health has offered new insights on how the movement of bodies, materials, and communication shapes social outcomes [ 83 , 84 ].

Applying this thinking to gambling, sports betting can be practiced in multiple spaces and places and these are often not fixed. Gambling is not simply tied to once specific space and place. So, gambling research using these ideas could focus on questions such as how do gambling practices play out over the course of a day, or an evening.

Importantly, practice theory work that considers these various elements of gambling practice should seek to explore how the different elements of practice work together to shape outcomes. Therefore, practice theory work on gambling would not necessarily focus only on bodies, or materials, or language and discourses. Rather, practice theory research in the field should seek to examine how different elements are enlisted and come together to perform gambling practices, and also pay attention to the relational dynamics between these elements of practice.

This is important, as it can help also inform how holistic harm reduction strategies may seek to work at multiple points of intervention by simultaneously tackling how bodies, materials, norms, discourses, and social structures shape gambling. Finally, a future research agenda could explore research questions that focus on how do gambling practices connect to form a nexus practices with other social practices such as alcohol consumption or socialising with friends?

Practice theorists refer to bundles of practice [ 48 ] recognising that practices are rarely performed in isolation but as part of a nexus of practices, or constellations of events [ 59 ]. Gambling often coincides with other practices such as eating and drinking, consuming sport, and socialising among friends [ 85 , 86 ].

Future research could focus on the nexus of gambling with other social practices like alcohol consumption and the consumption of sport and how this shapes behaviours and outcomes. Furthermore, harm reduction strategies could consider not only a specific focus on harmful gambling practices, but practices performed alongside gambling such as alcohol consumption.

Taking a nexus of practices, perspective also offers a framework for understanding how affective forces, the political economy, or general understandings may suffuse such practice bundles that involve gambling.

Such work could for example consider how neoliberal ideology, globalisation, and marketisation suffuse practices of gambling in the emerging economies of Africa, through alignment with ideas of status, success, and Western modernity. A nexus of gambling practices approach could also consider how certain practices such as a regular social gathering among friends may thread through the nexus and incorporate routines of gambling, drinking, socialising and so on. Longitudinal research that considers changing connections between gambling and other social practices through time, space, jurisdiction, and materiality can also help develop understanding.

Finally, an important consideration for any social practice research agenda for gambling is what methodologies can be used for inquiry. Given the broad focus of social practice theory on elements of and the performance of practice, interdisciplinary research drawing upon multiple methods is often used.

Traditional qualitative methods such as focus groups, and narrative interviews have been used to offer insights about the performance of gambling practices [ 20 , 72 ]. However, more novel and innovative methods are often used in social practice theory research. Methods such as ethnography and visual ethnography can be useful for capturing how language, materials, and bodies are used in the performance of practices [ 87 ].

Ethnographic and visual ethnographic methods offer possibilities for the researcher to pay attention to the fleeting, unspoken, mundane, ongoing, eventful, and happenstance of everyday life. Observation research of people performing gambling practices, or video ethnographies that capture people, bodies, spaces and places, language, and social interaction during the performance of gambling practices could add considerable insight to our understanding of what may drive gambling-related harms.

Gambling research using such methods would need to be conducted in an ethical manner, in which trust, consent, and decisions over the use of visual data are carefully considered. Cognitive neuroscience has also been suggested as a way to look at social practices and specifically how mental activities such as emotion and cognition influence their performance, or even how the eyes are used and where they focus during events [ 88 ].

Such interdisciplinary research between social scientists and neuroscientists is being carried out in other areas such as energy conservation behaviours [ 89 ]. Similarly, neuroscience methods could measure brain responses to the use of FOBT machines, or eye tracking research could consider what people are looking at and how they react to gambling advertisements in combination with qualitative narrative interviews to give insights on how the mind and mental activities may shape gambling practices.

Such research approaches would also need to consider important ethical questions relating to neuroscientific research [ 88 ] such as potential effects on participants from exposure to gambling stimulus, and provide relevant support services as necessary. Finally, Meier et al. Indeed, some quantitative studies in alcohol research record information that offers insights about the elements of practices of alcohol consumption such as location, social context e.

As Meier et al. The use of innovative research methods to investigate gambling as a social practice holds potential to inform more nuanced gambling harm reduction policy and programmes as well as provide stimulus for future research in the field. This paper argues the case for a practice theory turn in the gambling research field. We argue that such an approach is warranted given the dynamic and multifaceted nature of gambling and the considerable health and social harms caused by gambling.

Furthermore, our clear identification that gambling practices are performed using multiple elements of practice such as bodies, materials, spaces and places, and language and discourse support our case for a turn to practice. We have argued that practice theory research can add to the nascent stream of socio-cultural research on gambling [ 14 , 15 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 23 , 24 ] to provide nuanced and alternative understandings that can complement existing individual psychology of behaviour perspectives, regarding the personal, social, and cultural dimensions that shape gambling.

In this article, we have outlined what practice theory is, how it is relevant to gambling, and can help strengthen the research evidence base and suggested some ideas for a future research agenda in this space. We call upon social science researchers from across disciplines to embrace the challenge and engage in practice theory gambling research to complement existing knowledge, add to our current understanding, and help inform more effective gambling harm reduction activity into the future.

The big gamble: the need for a comprehensive research approach to understanding the causes and consequences of gambling harm in Australia. Australasian Epidemiologist. Google Scholar.

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