Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis

Part of Department of Government

We offer a distinctive transdisciplinary space within which to engage in the systemic and critical study of ideologies and discourses

We face unprecedented social, economic, technological, and environmental challenges that demand urgent attention and creative responses.

The Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis (clDA) is committed to the transdisciplinary and systematic study of contemporary ideologies and discourses, and their impact on institutions, movements and policies. Rooted in the work of Ernesto Laclau, who was a founding figure of the Centre, and other members of the Essex School of Discourse  Analysis, we gather together critical scholars who evaluate key problems and promises of the current age, using a wide range of critical and explanatory idioms of analysis. 

The Centre connects research, education and political practice by actively involving its members in research projects, hosting seminars, academic visits and working with other institutions in the UK and Europe.

Its members include staff from other Departments and Centres at the University, our MA and PhD students, as well as numerous PhD students, early career researchers, and established academics who take part in our activities as Visiting PhDs or Fellows of the Centre.


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"The problem with 'actually existing' liberal democracies is not with their constitutive values crystallized in the principles of liberty and equality for all, but with the system of power which redefines and limits the operation of those values. This is why our project of 'radical and plural democracy' was conceived as a new stage in the deepening of the 'democratic revolution', as the extension of the democratic struggles for equality and liberty to a wider range of social relations."
Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe

Our centre

Our research

cIDA builds its intellectual community through regular activities, organised within related clusters:

  • poststructuralist, post-Marxist and psychoanalytic theories of ideology and discourse
  • democratic theory, governance and critical policy analysis
  • research methods in critical political theory
  • populism and radical democracy
  • democracy, justice and social movements
  • mass media, communication and political agency
  • critical fantasy studies


cIDA and its members have forged extensive links with other Universities and Centres across the globe that actively draw on the tradition of the ‘Essex School of Discourse Theory’, including the work of the CIDA Directors - Professors Glynos & Howarth - on the ‘Logics Approach’ to critical social and political analysis. Through collaborative projects and visiting professorships they have established links with a wide range of institutions, including Stockholm University, CBS, the State University of Rio de Janeiro and UFPE, Recife, and the University of Bergen.

The directors are also active members of the International Research Network DeSiRe (Democracy, Signification, Resistance), which is a collaborative relation between academics at Free University, Brussels (lead organization), Essex, Uppsala, and Aristotle University, Thessaloniki.

Our events

cIDA initiates and coordinates major events beyond its regular seminar series, including international conferences and workshops, such as:  

  • “Logics, Critical Explanation and the Future of Critical Political Theory: Applying Discourse Analysis in Multiple Contexts” (2019)
  • “The Politics of Numbers within the New Technologies of Governance” (2019) 
  • “Essex Transform: Democracy and Active Citizenship in Academia”(2018)
  • “Populism and ‘Constructing a People’” (2017)
  • “Austerity, Resistance and Emergent Imaginaries: From Occupied Squares to the Parliament and the Neighbourhood” (2017)
Our upcoming Summer Schools:
Our previous Summer Schools:

Applying Discourse Theory: Politics, Ideology, Populism

Doing Discourse Analysis: Neoliberalism, Populism and Radial Democracy

Published works


Our academic staff frequently feature within the wider press and media. Below are some examples of their latest appearances:

    Research Projects

    • Subjectivity and valuation in community economies (ESRC, 2020 - 2021)
    • Exit Polling on Effectiveness and Research of Bradwell B Public Consultation Event (BECG, 2020)
    • The Legacy of Discourse Studies: Current Applications and the Future of the Essex School in Ideology and Discourse Analysis (ESRC, 2018 -2019)
    • Timebanking in Essex (ESRC, 2016-2018)
    • Collaborative Governance in Cities under Austerity: An Eight-case Comparative Study (ESRC, 2014)
    • The prospects for sustainable aviation in the UK (ESRC, 2010)


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    Get in touch
    Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis University of Essex
    Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ 
    Department of Government University of Essex
    Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
    Telephone: 01206 872759