Exercise 2: Extending the discourse analysis in Chapter 16

In Chapter 16, Chris Walton provides various exercises to help you gain experience in doing Foucauldian discourse analysis. Now you are invited to extend the Foucauldian discourse analysis of the transcripts of the interviews with the ex-soldiers David and Brian that Chris reports in Chapter 16. Use the same research questions that were developed by Chris and the researchers whom he worked with to direct their analysis:

  • How did David and Brian construct the experience of leaving the army?
  • How did they construct their army and post-army identities?
  • What functions were served by these identities?

Use the steps that Chris describes in Chapter 16. These are a version of the steps in Foucauldian discourse analysis presented by Willig (2013) that are outlined in Box 15.2 in Chapter 15 in the book. Apply these to some or all of the additional transcripts of interviews with ex-soldiers that can be found in Appendix 1 and that come from the same study as the interviews with David and Brian.

Remember that Chris Walton’s research group decided to analyse the two transcripts as individual cases. However, Chris warned that, with a larger data set, ‘the focus would likely be on identifying consistencies and inconsistencies in how people talked across the data set, in the way certain objects were constructed, in the discourses that were drawn upon and in the functions they served.’ Bear this in mind as you analyse the additional transcripts.

  • In what ways does your analysis of the additional data confirm, revise or extend the analysis of the two transcripts reported by Chris Walton?