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Transcript of Thesis
Comparison of Discourses Used in Summer Camp Job Advertising for Mexican and Australian Audiences: A Multimodal Analysis
G. Angélica Ortiz Barroso
Every year, students of a B.A. on ESL of a public university are offered to join summer job programs in order to practice their English language skills. An organization offers these programs via web pages, brochures and in some cases interviews.
This research analyzed the brochures used in two different countries (Mexico and Australia) to advertise job positions in a summer camp.
MDA Multimodal discourse analysis
CDA Critical Discourse Analysis
Many students of EFL programs in Mexico usually look for opportunities to travel abroad, and the information they find in bulletin boards is usually related to summer-camp jobs.
I realized the job positions where not related to students' field
(maintenance, dish-washing, cleaning bedrooms and so on
I found different programs for graduate and non-graduate students as
teaching assistants, volunteers at universities and many more
How are summer jobs advertised in terms of semiotic and socio-cultural features from an MDA perspective?
What is the relationship in terms of discourse between summer job brochures and the target audience?
What are the discourse differences aimed at Mexican and Australian U.S. holiday job brochures?
What are the social inequalities, if found, when advertising U.S. summer jobs in Mexico and Australia?
Discourse has been defined for some as “
the study of language
” (Tannen, 1989, p.6). while for others, Halliday, M. A. K. (1978), Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen (1996), Michael OToole (1994), Scollon, R. and Wong Scollon, S. (2003),discourse is more than just language by itself. From this conception, discourse might be considered
to go beyond the use of language to what and how language and other semiotic resources are used for
“Discourses are socially situated forms of knowledge about (aspects of) reality. This includes knowledge of the events constituting that reality (
who is involved, what takes place, where and when it takes place,
and so on) as well as a set of related evaluations, purposes, interpretations and legitimations”. (Kress, & Van Leeuwen, 2001, p. 20-21).
According to Thiran, (2010), “[a] modality is a natural way of interaction: speech, vision, face expressions, handwriting, gestures or even head and body movements”. (p.145).
MDA can be defined as the study of language that
integrates language with other resources
, such as images, body movements, gestures, colors, music, sound, text position and distance. These resources are known as semiotic resources (Halliday, 1978 ).
Bloor and Bloor (2007)
that “[w]e need to be aware of our
own position in relation to the object of our analysis since our beliefs and attitudes are likely to color the way we heard or read
”(p. 33), and the “
expectations of the reader are based on socially agreed conventions
with respect to issues of fact, opinion, objectivity and bias”
(Schollon & Schollon, 2003)
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) studies discourse as a social practice. In other words, it
studies the relationship between discourse and the social context where it is used.
According to Wodak and Weiss (2003), “discourse is socially constitutive as well as socially conditioned – it constitutes situations, objects of knowledge, and the social identities of and relationships between people and groups of people.”(p.13)
According to Van Dijk (2003) “Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a type of discourse analytical research that primarily
studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced,
and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context
Each semiotic feature was considered, analyzed and interpreted according to a MDA perspective, and they were interpreted from my point of view as a Mexican researcher. The data showed that summer camps jobs are advertised in three different ways in each of the countries.
Online (organization website),
Written or printed (brochures),
Personally (interviews and meetings).
Each semiotic feature was considered, analyzed and interpreted according to an MDA perspective, and they were interpreted from my point of view as a Mexican researcher. Advertisement was made by three different means:
online (organization website),
written or printed (brochures),
face-to-face (interviews and meetings).
regarding the use of social networks and technology to be in “in touch” with the organization that are promoted for Australians but limited for Mexicans seem to me an act of discrimination.
Australians can arrange an interview via
Internet and online websites are available in both countries; however, this organization does not invite Mexicans to join their
account or to follow them on
According to Van Dijk “
is defined in terms of
the control exercised by one group or organisation
(or its ‘members)
over the actions and/or the minds of (the members of) another group,
thus limiting the freedom of action of the others, or influencing their knowledge, attitudes or ideologies.” (1993b, p.84)
is here understood as a form of social
that is, as a legally or morally illegitimate exercise of control over others in one's own interests, often resulting in
.” (Van Dijk, T. 1993b, p.84)
according to there several participant roles, corresponds with
more social power
.” (Van Dijk, T. 1993b, p.85) and “not everyone has equal access to the media or to medical, legal, political, bureaucratic or scholarly text and talk” (Van Dijk, T. 1993b, p.86) and in this case to a job.
This research is
a valuable contribution
to the field of MDA because
supports the importance
of the study, analysis and interpretation of different
that are used to create discourse.
It supports the fact that
when different kinds of discourses are analyzed different perspectives of a message can be understood and interpreted.
(Tannen (1989), Halliday, M. A. K. (1978), Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen (1996), Michael OToole (1994), Scollon, R. and Wong Scollon, S. (2003)).
The methods used for this study may be applied to other studies
elsewhere in the world in order to identify semiotic resources that show social inequalities and promote stereotyping and in some cases racism.
The present study provides additional evidence with respect to social inequalities and racism towards Mexican students.
Taken together, these findings suggest a racist role of the American organization in promoting summer job positions according to nationality and limiting the available positions for Mexicans. These findings enhance our understanding of
the importance of CDA as a tool to make people aware of the importance of discourse and its social purposes.
IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
should encourage students to search for programs that offer more benefits for them.
of the university should inform students about the options that are offered by this organization and the real situation of job opportunities they will face if they join the summer job program.
should be aware of the social inequalities and racist kind of discourse that the organization uses when addressing a Mexican audience. Students should stop applying for these kind of job positions and look for programs that can benefit them regarding professional experience. If students continue to apply for this organization program, they will contribute to racist practices and a negative stereotype of Mexicans.
other programs that should be analyzed
in order to analyze the opportunities they offer and the discourse that they used to advertise jobs abroad. More information about other summer job programs is required before generalizing the use of negative stereotypes and the disadvantages for Mexican participants in summer job positions.
could be carried out to analyze the relationship between the discourse that is used by the
to advertise summer jobs to students of
other Latin- American countries
in order to find out if the use of discriminatory discourse and visual aids was only developed for Mexicans or if it is the same for other Latin-American countries.
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