Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


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Publication Details

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Technological University Dublin, April 2022.


Budget speeches are important discursive institutional practices in which fiscal and monetary policy are presented to parliaments on an annual basis. The issue of ideology and the contingent nature of discourse is rarely considered with budgets delivered in specific policy contexts presented as pragmatic truth statements unhindered by the distorting lens of ideology. Employing contributions from post-structural discourse theory, dialogism, critical realism and corpus linguistics this thesis addresses three research questions: what discourses are employed in Irish budget speeches from 1970 to 2015? How are these discourses structured? How are social imaginaries and subject positions constructed through these discourses? Methods consist of a preliminary close reading informed by post-structural discourse theory of a sub-corpus of Irish budget speeches from 1970 to 2015; this initial stage provides periodisation and insights into the structural composition of discourse within Irish budget speeches during this period. The second method involves the application of keyword and concordance analyses to examine the changing composition of keywords and their semantic meanings over time, using the periodisation derived from the initial close reading. It is found that Irish budget speeches are structured around four discourses, a left-liberal discourse from 1970-1977, a period of extended dislocation from 1978-1982, a soft-neoliberal discourse from 1983-2008 and a neoliberal austerity discourse from 2009-2015. The thesis presents a novel periodisation of the structure of Irish budgetary discourse, models those discourses while illustrating methodological innovations and theoretical developments to the field of post-structural discourse theory and discursive institutionalism respectively.



Irish Research Council, Technological University Dublin

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