The Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis is a meeting place for students and scholars interested in post-structuralist and post-Marxist political theory, psychoanalysis, and the broad research program known as the Essex School of Discourse Analysis. It is organized by the Ideology and Discourse PhD program and draws its membership from a range of schools and departments across the University. Students, faculty, and affiliates convene at the Centre to discuss questions related to the role of discourse in politics and society; the lineage of Marxism in political theory; the impact of psychoanalytic understandings of emotion on the concept of ideology; and the nature and dynamics of capitalism in social, political, and economic life. The Centre connects research with political theory and practice by actively involving its members in research projects, hosting seminars, academic visits and working with other institutions in the UK and Europe.
The Centre traces its history back to the academic careers of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe at the University of Essex in the 1980’s. Laclau and Mouffe’s influential book Hegemony and Socialist strategy (1985) began a concerted disciplinary approach to moulding post-structuralist linguistic philosophy to a political theory attempting to go-beyond Marxism and shifting attention to the concerns of a concept of radical democracy. Over the years, PhD students and associates of Laclau and Mouffe formalized their system of thinking into a coherent systematic for conducting empirical research on social and political phenomena, conceptualizing the politics of democracy, and significantly the ontological and epistemological standing of discourse. Eventually, this scholarly impact gave rise to the title of the Essex School of Discourse Analysis to give home to this rich and diverse intellectual production. Through all of this, the University of Essex has continued to host students and specialists in the training and scrutiny of the research program. After many iterations and titles, today the Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis stands as the official meeting place for those interested in this academic, cultural, and political project known as the Essex School of Discourse Analysis.