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date: 09 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article offers a critical account of the mainstream HRM literature through the medium of discourse analysis. No singular definition of discourse analysis is possible but, insofar as it is possible to generalize, discourse analysts are interested in the implications of how language (and other signs) are deployed to present and re-present social reality. ‘Critical’ discourse analysis takes many forms and utilizes a very wide variety of methodologies. As an analytic perspective, it offers a variety of social-scientific approaches through which particular ‘discursive constructions’ or – to use Foucault's term – ’discursive formations’ can be explored in order to expose their underlying assumptions about the projected nature of social reality. More generally, there is a concern with not only alternative possible readings but also with what particular discourses exclude or marginalize, and with how discourse may be deployed to shape social subjectivities. In this respect, the core assumption informing ‘critical’ varieties of discourse analysis is that ‘discourse’ is inextricably implicated in the exercise of social power.

Keywords: human-resource management, HRM literature, discourse analysis, social reality, subjectivities, social power

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