Extending the methodology of critical discourse analysis using Haraway's figurations: The example of The Monstrous Perpetrator within contemporary responses to child neglect and abuse

Nursing Inquiry 31 (1):e12617 (2024)
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Abstract

Critical discursive analyses offer possibilities for equity‐oriented research, and are a resource for addressing resistant social problems, such as child neglect and abuse (CN&A). A key challenge for discourse analysts in health disciplines is the tensions between materiality and social constructions, particularly at the site of the body. This paper describes how Donna Haraway's ideas of figuration and technobiopower can augment critical discourse analysis to address this tension. Technobiopower, an intensification of biopower in the context of technoscience, is seen as underpinning the melding of material and semiotic practices. The subject is no longer a material body, but a hybrid body that exists in tropic figuration between the real and unreal. This paper uses an analysis of the figuration of The Monstrous Perpetrator from a study of nursing responses to CN&A to illustrate how Haraway's figuration aligns with and provides an analytical tool to extend critical discursive analyses. Specifically, this methodology offers new ways to identify the discursive qualities of bodies, and how material aspects of bodies are exaggerated, concealing their hegemonic ideologies and discriminatory effects. By identifying discourses within or inscribed upon the body, they can be disrupted, opening new possibilities for social change.

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