What is it about?

This article is part of a study investigating how the Pakistani newspaper, The Nation, responded to events surrounding the suspension of the Chief Justice of the Pakistan Supreme Court by the military-led quasi-democratic government in 2007, which resulted in widely supported protest action known as the Lawyers’ Movement. The article uses discourse theory and framing theory in combination to reveal how the editorials at the time of an earlier event – the Supreme Court’s stopping of the sale to private interests of the Pakistan Steel Mills – reframed the power dynamics underpinning the relations between the judicial and executive systems.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Discourse theory, as initially developed in the work of political theorists Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), has been undergoing refinement to address a perceived lack of further development through empirical investigation. On the other hand, framing theory has been recently criticised for stagnating in respect of its further development on the theoretical front. This article is a contribution to advancing scholarship in both the above aspects. In the course of presenting a methodological demonstration on both counts, the article also demonstrates the use of discourse analysis to trace the trajectory of social change through being able to identify changes in how media represent – and in doing so help to constitute – the events as they unfold.


I am very pleased to be able to add further to the conversation around the application of discourse theory to social and political research, and especially to do so in the Journal of Language and Politics, which recently published a special issue on this topic: ‘'Discourse Theory: Ways forward for theory development and research practice'’ (Vol 20, Issue 1).

Rizwan Sulehry
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Identifying the discursive trajectory of social change – a systematic discourse theoretical framework, Journal of Language and Politics, February 2023, John Benjamins,
DOI: 10.1075/jlp.22138.sul.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page