The Discursive Construction of Reality IV - Interdisciplinary perspectives on a sociology of knowledge approach to discourse research

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Over the last decade, the research programme outlined by the sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD) has spread to many disciplines in social science. A common interest in discourse research has resulted in a widely distributed community that prevalently, but not exclusively, uses qualitative research designs to examine forms of 'discursive construction of reality'. Corresponding studies may be found in sociology, but also in neighbouring disciplines such as political science, historical science, educational science, theology, linguistics, and criminology, among many others. This approach to discourse research combines social constructionist and interpretive-pragmatic schools of thought with the theoretical concepts and lines of investigation of discourse in the tradition of Michel Foucault, with the intention of analysing knowledge relations and policies in society. Bearing these core tenets in mind, the original approach has nonetheless been successfully amended, expanded, and occasionally modified to meet the demands of different fields of study and forms of data.

Following the Augsburg conferences in 2013, 2015, and 2017 on interpretive and sociology of knowledge discourse research with over 120 participants and 40 contributions from different disciplines in each year, the upcoming conference would like to continue in the spirit of an interdisciplinary discussion about the foundations and applications of SKAD and SKAD-inspired discourse research, as well as related perspectives.

Areas of interest for contributions may include:

  • theoretical and methodological explication of the research programme of SKAD, including the question of how SKAD fits into the current landscape of discourse research or into the specific discussions within the scope of individual disciplines.
  • concrete methods and ‘modus operandi’ in empirical research contexts, focusing less on the respective object of research but instead on analytical procedures involved in these studies. Especially when going beyond the ‘classic’ text-based or qualitative approaches (including audiovisual, ethnographic, or interview material // quantitative applications), how do we proceed, in practice, when researching discourse?
  • the question of how different heuristic tools and methods be integrated in a SKAD frame of reference and how can they be applied? This area of contributions includes strategies of mapping (see Adele Clarke for instance), ethnographic research designs in discourse and dispositive studies, the questions of how to integrate and conceptualize visualizations and materiality in discourses studies.
  • subjectivation research, which in recent years has increasingly pursued research interests that point to the possibilities of expanding and supplementing discourse and dispositif research. This involves empirical investigation of normative subject positions on the one hand, and the human self-relations, subjectivities, biographies and self-technologies influenced by the subject positions on the other. This focus is concerned with addressing theoretical and methodological questions of how the linking of discursively constructed  subject positions and self-relations, biographies, identities, etc. can be conceived, as well as with how the concrete empirical implementation of such research projects can be achieved.
  • the presentation of ongoing or completed empirical studies that draw on the SKAD. Contributions from different disciplinary perspectives are welcome. The focus here is on the respective research projects and their results. At the same time, it should become clear what the specific sociological and discourse-analytical structure and yield of the research presented is for the respective fields of investigation and/or the sociological discourse research.

Please send your submissions to in the form of an abstract (max. 2,500 characters).

Deadline for submissions: October 15, 2018

If you have any questions feel free to contact me

For further information to the registration modalities, travel, accommodation and much more please visit


Social Events at the conference 

Besides a dinner with traditional Swabian and Bavarian cuisine on first day of the conference we invite you to our closing party on March 22nd after the end of the conference.

Reiner Keller
Sasa Bosancic
University of Augsburg
Contact person
Sasa Bosancic
Contact person email address
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