Distant Reading and Discourse Analysis

Authors: Maurice Erb (Universität Zürich) , Simon Ganahl (Universität Zürich) , Patrick Kilian (Universität Zürich)

  • Distant Reading and Discourse Analysis


    Distant Reading and Discourse Analysis

    Authors: , ,


With the publication of this special issue, Le foucaldien continues its experiment of updating the thought of Michel Foucault. Can historical discourse analyses be carried out with the aid of computers? In order to examine this question, we compare Franco Moretti's Distant Reading with Foucault's archaeological method. Despite their common origins in the French Annales School, the two approaches differ fundamentally. While Moretti interprets literary data by means of social history, Foucault seeks the immanent meaning of discourses. Our preliminary conclusion: digital archaeology appears to founder on the operationalization of the complex concept of the statement (énoncé).

Keywords: algorithm, archaeology, big data, digital humanities, discourse analysis, distant reading, Foucault, Moretti

How to Cite: Erb, Maurice, Simon Ganahl, and Patrick Kilian. "Distant Reading and Discourse Analysis." Le foucaldien 2, no. 1 (2016): 1–7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16995/lefou.16 [Note: In 2022, Le foucaldien relaunched as Genealogy+Critique.]

Download PDF




Published on
28 Jun 2016
Peer Reviewed