(1921 words)
  • Sara Mills (Sheffield Hallam University)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Discourse is a term which is used in many theoretical discussions in literary studies and the social sciences, but which is unfortunately often not explicitly defined. The term is sometimes used as a gesture towards theoretical sophistication as it seems to be a term which occurs in many theoretical discussions. Since there are several definitions of the term, it is important to try to analyse which meaning of the term is being used. In both English and French there are general definitions of the term which mean “to speak about” or “to hold forth on” a topic (e.g. “He gave a discourse on the subject of Greek philosophy”). This differs markedly from the more theoretical definitions of the term: these can be divided into two …

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Mills, Sara. "Discourse". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 March 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1261, accessed 29 September 2016.]