Kutter, A. & Masson, F. (forthcoming 2022): Researching institutions after the discursive turn. In Flick, U. (ed.) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research Design, Vol. 2. London: Sage.
Recent crises, such as those of the global financial system, the planet’s climate or liberal democracies, underline the importance, vulnerability and contingency of social and political institutions. This chapter explores the contribution that qualitative research can make to the investigation of institutions in the current setting. We claim that institution research can benefit from a combination of discourse analysis with Foucauldian governmentality studies and Bourdieusian field analysis. We first introduce the subjects and theoretical traditions of institution research so that scholars interested in the subject can navigate the field. Using the examples of the governmentality of EU agricultural policy and the discourse field of EU multilateral negotiation, we then demonstrate how a qualitative enquiry into institutions can be designed, conducted and reflected upon after the discursive turn.