Developing a critical discourse: Michel Foucault and the cult of solidarity

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Australian trade unions face the organizational and ethical challenge of advanced liberalism and its privileging of an enterprise culture, an ideological hegemony which unions, with their traditions of solidarity and collectivism, struggle to resist. While it has been argued that critical discourse studies offer a research methodology to develop politically engaged resistance strategies, CDS has not subjected the values and language of union mobilisation and class resistance to sufficient scrutiny. Employing discourse analysis to promote equality and workplace justice requires a willingness to engage in a critical examination of what terms like class solidarity now mean in the context of enterprise culture. Foucault's stress on the power relationships embedded in discourse clarifies the history of solidarity and intensifies our critical analysis of the new discursive formations of enterprise culture which have stripped traditional union solidarity of its institutional basis and authority. Foucault's ethics, based in the notion of the care of the self, suggests that union claims to govern and represent the interests of their members can only be reinvigorated by applying the Socratic ideal of self-examination and self-transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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