Discourse Regarding China: Cyberspace and Cybersecurity

The significant position acquired, in recent years, by discourse analysis in studies conducted in international relations is, to a large extent, attributable to the success of the constructivist paradigm (Nicolas G. Onuf1, Alexander Wendt2, Thomas Lindemann3), and notably to the techniques of the Copenhagen School (security theories).4

Discourse is not a way of learning something about a reality, but rather a way of producing reality, rendering something a reality.5 The basic premise of discourse theory runs that the way in which we think and say things reflects the way in which we act in relation to the object of that discourse.6 Thus, according to this view, there exists no real world untouched by our thoughts, our ideas, and it would be useless to try to distinguish fixed political and social structures, a static reality, independently of our own interpretation of it.7

This theory also postulates that language is a form of social power. The social implications of discourse lie in its power to influence, its persuasive nature, its capacity to alter ideas, beliefs and behaviors.8 Discourse is a social practice which produces the effects of power, i.e. which is aimed at dominating other people.9

Discourse analysis, which is a relatively recent method in the field of international relations10, is commonly used to reveal the established relations between discourse and political practice11, in order to understand the way in ...

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