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Benno Herzog
Discourse & Society, Volume: 27, issue: 3, page(s): 278-292
Publication year: 2016


Although discourse analysts often conceive of their work as critical, there is little theoretical discussion regarding the possibility of normative critique in the scientific community of discourse analysis. Rarely are the normative grounds and normative scope of such a critique clear. Thus, this article attempts to find theoretically robust and practical answers to the following question: ‘How is a normative critique possible?’ In seeking my answer, I first provide a short overview of the possibilities of normative critique in critical discourse analysis. Second, I offer an argument in favour of immanent critique while explaining both its advantages and its theoretical and practical problems. Finally, I demonstrate how sociological discourse analysis and immanent critique can mutually benefit from one another. The theses I formulate and defend are as follows: Although the notion of immanent critique cannot adequately answer methodological questions, these answers can be found in several recent proposals on discourse analysis. Additionally, a combination of the dialectical approaches to immanent critique and discourse analysis might help overcome the methodological deficit of Critical Theory. Finally, this combination can resolve several theoretical deficits in discourse theory.