Varieties of Discourse: On the Study of Organizations through Discourse Analysis

Mats Alvesson, Dan Kärreman

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Discourse is a popular term used in a variety of ways, easily leading to confusion. This article attempts to clarify the various meanings of discourse in social studies, the term's relevance for organizational analysis and some key theoretical positions in discourse analysis. It also focuses on the methodological problem of the relationship between: a) the level of discourse produced in interviews and in everyday life observed as `social texts' (in particular talk); b) other kinds of phenomena, such as meanings, experiences, orientations, events, material objects and social practices; and, c) discourses in the sense of a large-scale, ordered, integrated way of reasoning/ constituting the social world. In particular, the relationship between `micro and meso-level' discourse analysis (i.e. specific social texts being the primary empirical material) and `grand and mega-level' discourse (i.e. large-scale orders) is investigated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1125-1149
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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