Discourse Analysis Watch

FourthEdition
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#1
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Does anyone know how to apply discourse analysis to a piece of text? I cant for the life of me get my head around it.

What exactly am I looking for? I vaguely know about tools such as ideological dilemmas and subject positions but all of my sources seem very wishy washy and vague.

Any hints please? Thanks!
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Tpos
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Bump!
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scrotgrot
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It's very wishy-washy, but the simplest bit of it is cohesion and coherence, this involves tracking concepts back through their various referents to the first time they are mentioned in the text, or sometimes in intertexts (other texts/general cultural knowledge), and also charting the structure of the argument and the way it is made into a coherent text with a message by establishing these concepts and bringing them in and out at various points.

A major intertextual consideration is genre: newspaper articles are written like other newspaper articles stylistically, for example.

It also covers things like pragmatics: knowing who the different characters or actors are, including the authorial position, and what they are trying to elicit with each interaction or statement.

In general it is all about analysing communicative events in their context, thinking about how specific techniques have been used to convey the message or achieve the desired result.

For example, I don't know what an ideological dilemma is, but a change in subject position can put emphasis on the subject (topicalisation) or take emphasis off the subject (passivisation). For example, the famous quote "mistakes were made" uses passivisation to avoid the embarrassment of having to say we made mistakes.
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Tpos
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(Original post by scrotgrot)
It's very wishy-washy, but the simplest bit of it is cohesion and coherence, this involves tracking concepts back through their various referents to the first time they are mentioned in the text, or sometimes in intertexts (other texts/general cultural knowledge), and also charting the structure of the argument and the way it is made into a coherent text with a message by establishing these concepts and bringing them in and out at various points.

A major intertextual consideration is genre: newspaper articles are written like other newspaper articles stylistically, for example.

It also covers things like pragmatics: knowing who the different characters or actors are, including the authorial position, and what they are trying to elicit with each interaction or statement.

In general it is all about analysing communicative events in their context, thinking about how specific techniques have been used to convey the message or achieve the desired result.

For example, I don't know what an ideological dilemma is, but a change in subject position can put emphasis on the subject (topicalisation) or take emphasis off the subject (passivisation). For example, the famous quote "mistakes were made" uses passivisation to avoid the embarrassment of having to say we made mistakes.
Thanks for the reply

I'm doing a discourse analysis of an interview and I guess your example would apply to that too. But I'm struggling with the idea of 'discourses', they are not the same as themes are they? Can you analyse themes in a discourse analysis? Do you make up what the discourse is or are there some guidelines for them :s ...wait 'subject position' - is that an example of a type of *discourse*?

Sorry these are probably really stupid questions but from what I've read I sort of understand how to do it but I'm confused about the layout and exactly what to write
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scrotgrot
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(Original post by Tpos)
Thanks for the reply

I'm doing a discourse analysis of an interview and I guess your example would apply to that too. But I'm struggling with the idea of 'discourses', they are not the same as themes are they? Can you analyse themes in a discourse analysis? Do you make up what the discourse is or are there some guidelines for them :s ...wait 'subject position' - is that an example of a type of *discourse*?

Sorry these are probably really stupid questions but from what I've read I sort of understand how to do it but I'm confused about the layout and exactly what to write
I'm not really sure, it's been a while since I've done it and to be honest 90% of the concepts are a pile of ****. I assume themes of a text are various things it brings to the table, such as a newspaper article will be written about "the financial crisis". I believe "discourses" basically means "conversations", i.e. the communicative interaction through which ideas are imparted.

what I said about subject position (which may not even be what subject position is, I just guessed!) would be an example of a word/sentence-level technique used to achieve the particular goal that that person had for the communicative act, that is, to obscure personal responsibility.

In an interview, discourse analysis of the interviewer's side would presumably involve:
- what is already publicly known about this person
- how tactfully certain questions need to be asked
- the genre-based structure of interviews (start with a personal outline or information, move on to questions about recent events first, then go into more personal anecdotes or back into history a bit)

while from the interviewee's side I suppose it would involve the creation of a personal narrative, the desire to protect their reputation, any commercial need to promote their work or brand...

As to "what you can analyse", the subject is basically so broad, nebulous, ****y and common-sensical that you can basically write any old crap that comes into your head and it will probably be right.
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Tpos
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(Original post by scrotgrot)
I'm not really sure, it's been a while since I've done it and to be honest 90% of the concepts are a pile of ****. I assume themes of a text are various things it brings to the table, such as a newspaper article will be written about "the financial crisis". I believe "discourses" basically means "conversations", i.e. the communicative interaction through which ideas are imparted.
Haha that's what I was thinking.
what I said about subject position (which may not even be what subject position is, I just guessed!) would be an example of a word/sentence-level technique used to achieve the particular goal that that person had for the communicative act, that is, to obscure personal responsibility.

In an interview, discourse analysis of the interviewer's side would presumably involve:
- what is already publicly known about this person
- how tactfully certain questions need to be asked
- the genre-based structure of interviews (start with a personal outline or information, move on to questions about recent events first, then go into more personal anecdotes or back into history a bit)

while from the interviewee's side I suppose it would involve the creation of a personal narrative, the desire to protect their reputation, any commercial need to promote their work or brand...

As to "what you can analyse", the subject is basically so broad, nebulous, ****y and common-sensical that you can basically write any old crap that comes into your head and it will probably be right.
Thanks, I really appreciate your help!
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