Discourse of dilemmas: An analysis of communication planners' accounts

Hedwig te Molder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper is an analysis of how communication planners talk government communication campaigns into being. More specifically, the study explicates the resources which communication planners use to make sense of government policies and the actions they accomplish through their reports of these policies. Rather than passively transmitting government policies, campaigns are designed in such a way as to solve 'efficacy dilemmas' and 'political dilemmas'. The analysis documents some of the discursive procedures through which these dilemmas are managed. It is argued, first, that these findings mark a shift away from the main assumption conventionally underlying government communication and, second, that the results raise problems for the conception of reasoning as an essentially individual and cognitive event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-263
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


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