Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Economics, Sociology, Political science, public administration

Publication Details

Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics (SASE), June 23rd to 25thth, 2018,Doshisha University (Imadegawa campus), Kyoto, Japan.


This paper explores the discursive development of taxation within budget speeches in two countries, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, from 1970 to 2015 by means of a corpus-assisted discourse analysis. We ask the following questions; how have discourses of taxation developed diachronically in both countries, what are the similarities and differences in the observable discourses across both countries, and for whom and how are these discourses legitimised? In answering these questions, this paper makes use of Corpus linguistics, a methodological approach which utilises computational analysis of large bodies of text to draw statistically significant conclusions about the usage of words within the corpus. This initial quantitative analysis facilitates the qualitative discourse analysis of taxation over four decades, usually constrained for methodological reasons to a small number of texts. It is expected, though not taken a priori, that significant discursive change will be centred around periods of economic crisis, points in time where a fissure in the normalcy of meaning is opened thus enabling contestation and discursive change to occur. Change will be examined first through a collocate analysis of the lemma tax, followed by an analysis of discourse prosody to demonstrate how and for whom taxation is discursively constructed. How different types of taxation are discursively constructed and legitimised by successive Chancellors and Finance Ministers has distinct material consequences for the development of the welfare state, and in particular, the provision of social protection. This paper is novel due to the manner in which it assembles a large specialised corpus to empirically demonstrate how taxation has been discursively constructed in the context of a forty-five year period which has seen the increasing erosion of social supports and increasing levels of inequality across both countries.


Irish Research Council