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Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method

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Andrew Thomas

on 3 September 2013

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Transcript of Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method

Relativism "Reality is not a fixed entity independent of our perceptions of it. Our perceptions... depend on (are relative to) the concepts and theories we are working with when we observe" (Cameron et al, pp. 136-137).

There is no social reality outside of actor's (observer's) subjective experience.

No grand or universal narratives that can account for social phenomena (against 'isms' generally).

Focus on the detailed description of social phenomena including the observer's feelings and interpretations. Positivism "...entails a commitment to the study of the frequency, distribution and patterning of observable phenomena, and the description... of the relationship between those phenomena" (Cameron et al, p. 134).

only observable knowledge is considered valid

epistemologies that make claims based on unobserved phenomena are considered political and/or mythological

establishes "objective" understanding of phenomena as the primary aims of scientific investigation.

criticized for tending toward reductionism that doesn't account for systemic complexities that include visible and non/invisible phenomena Realism "Realism posits a reality existing outside and independent of the observer, but also stresses that this reality may be impossible to observe or to describe definitively" (Cameron et al, p. 137).

focuses on the distinction between theoretical/structural ways of knowing and knowable, objective reality itself.

concerned with the question "what is real?"

in this way the realist grapples with both physical/observable objects as well as abstract concepts as both have "real" consequences in the social world. Power/Knowledge: The Politics of Social Science
Cameron et al Global Capitalism and Critical Awareness of Language Norman Fairclough Transcription as Theory
Elinor Ochs Sound in Perspective
Van Leeuwen Theory/Method Researcher-Subject Relations Ethics:
Research on subjects... Advocacy:
Research on and for subjects... Empowerment: Research on, for, and with... What about doing research on "rich, white, male, hedge fund brokers?"
What kind of researcher - subject position would be appropriate given different epistemological/ontological stances? A: (cough) (laughter) (talking)
Z: This next character is called the five year old who complains about having a beard.
A: Wooo (laughter)
Z: The five year old who complains about having a beard.
A: (laughter) Woooo. YEAH. Wooo. xxxxxxxxxxxxx (laughter) Listeners 'relate' to sound based on the subject's relative distance from the sound.

Sounds is then divided up into three groups based on the relative positioning of the subject and the sounds they are hearing (Figure, Ground, and Field).

The these positionings are made meaningful by the context in which they occur.

Perspective can be altered by the changing this context.

Perspective is realized by the relative loudness of simultaneous sounds (which can be culturally mediated or altered by proximity or volume of the source). What are the methods/methodologies present in Roy's research? Knowing what you know about DA, what questions would you ask the presenter? Do you think his conclusions are valid based on the methods used? If so, why? If not, why not? DISCUSSION Discourse, knowledge and social change: “…the resources for learning and for working in a knowledge-based economy include a critical awareness of discourse- an awareness of how discourse figures within social practices, an awareness that any knowledge of a domain of social life is constituted as one discourse from among a number of co-existing or conceivable discourses, that different discourses are associated with different perspectives in the domain concerned and different interests, and awareness of how discourses can work ideologically in social relations of power, and so forth” (p. 149). The discourse of flexibility Textually mediated social life: “...in contemporary societies, the discourses/knowledges generated by expert systems enter our everyday lives and shape the way we live them” (p. 150). Discourse, social differences, and social identity. Commodification of discourse Discourse and democracy Page Layout:
Top to bottom biases
Left to right biases

Placement of verbal and non-verbal behavior

Transcription Symbols: pp. 173-177 Multimodality Heteroglossia The Semiotic Construction of a Wine Label
David Graddol
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