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Using keywords analysis in CDA : evolving discourses of the knowledge economy in education.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date2008
Host publicationEducation and the Knowledge-based Economy in Europe
EditorsBob Jessop, Norman Fairclough, Ruth Wodak
Place of PublicationRotterdam
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-90-8790-622-1
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameEducational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice


This paper explores changes in educational discourse in the United Kingdom during three decades of crisis and radical change in British capitalism. Combining critical discourse analysis with corpus linguistic tools, it examines a corpus of seventeen White Papers spanning five Prime Ministers from Edward Heath to Tony Blair who, between them, led four alternating periods of Conservative and Labour rule. By linking social theory with corpus linguistic ‘keywords’ tools, the analysis identifies three successive educational policy concerns: a technocratic focus on educational outputs under Thatcher’s neo-liberal government; a visionary discourse of competitiveness under Major’s caretaker government; and a strategic policy aimed at building an internationally competitive, skills-based, economy under Blair’s New Labour Government. As well as discussing the implications of these textual findings for education’s role in economic policy, the chapter notes the contribution of this methodology to a systematic interdisciplinary investigation of public discourse.