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What is … Discourse Analysis? Stephanie Taylor The Open University.

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1 What is … Discourse Analysis? Stephanie Taylor The Open University

2 2 What is discourse analysis? (1) The study of well-established meanings or ideas around a topic which shape how we can talk about it

3 3 What is discourse analysis? (1) The study of well-established meanings or ideas around a topic which shape how we can talk about it e.g. ‘discourses of education’, ‘discourses of health and illness’

4 4 Discourses of nation-state or nation: ‘England’? ‘Britain’? ‘The UK’? ‘Europe’?

5 5 Discourses of nation-state or nation: ‘England’? ‘Britain’? ‘The UK’? ‘Europe’? Different terms have different definitions and different consequences (e.g. who is included). Discourse is material

6 6 Possible problem: Too static?

7 7 What is discourse analysis? (1) The study of well-established meanings or ideas around a topic which shape how we can think and talk about it (2) The study of how meanings are established, used, challenged and changed (including in talk)

8 8 The study of how meanings are established, used, challenged and changed (including in talk) (i)Over time (‘genealogical study’ Foucault)

9 9 The study of how meanings are established, used, challenged and changed (including in talk) (i)Over time (‘genealogical study’ Foucault) (ii)In ordinary life (discourse practices)

10 10 Analysing discourse practices around nation and national identity ‘flagging the nation’ Michael Billig (1992)

11 11

12 12 Analysing discourse practices around nation and national identity ‘football wise we can mix it with anyone. But first and foremost we’re a very proud country and we’ve got to go out there wanting to win.’ John Terry, England player, quoted in The Observer

13 13 Analysing discourse practices around nation and national identity ‘football wise we can mix it with anyone. But first and foremost we’re a very proud country and we’ve got to go out there wanting to win.’ John Terry, England player, quoted in The Observer

14 14 Analysing discourse practices around nation and national identity ‘football wise we can mix it with anyone. But first and foremost we’re a very proud country and we’ve got to go out there wanting to win.’ John Terry, England player, quoted in The Observer

15 15 Jackie Abell, Susan Condor, Robert D. Lowe, Stephen Gibson and Clifford Stevenson (2007) ‘Who ate all the pride? Patriotic sentiment and English national football support’ Nations and Nationalism 13 (1), 2007, 97–116.

16 16 Analysing discourse practices around nation and national identity Charlie: I’m English. It’s in the blood, you can’t help, it’s in the blood. Jackie: And that gives you certain characteristics that make you C: It does. It makes you shave your head, put a bit of weight on (laughter) and watch football. ….

17 17 Analysing discourse practices around nation and national identity J: Do you think you can choose to be English? C: I think they had more of a sense of Englishness say earlier on, in the, well from the day dot all the way up to say the 1970s. They had more of a sense of being English than they have now because it’s such a multi-racial society, that people who are being brought into it don’t have as much value of where they come from than what they used to have. And the way we see it, well I see it, a few of the lads and that, on St George’s day, we’re just trying to keep alive, you know, the theme if you like, of where we are. ….

18 18 Analysing discourse practices around nation and national identity J: So if you’re of a different race then you’re not English? C: (1) You mean like J: If you’ve got Pakistani parents but you were born here, are you English? C: No, you’re Pakistani. J: Why aren’t you English? C: ’Cos your parents are Pakistanis. J: So if your parents had been Welsh and you’d have been born here C: I’d have been Welsh. J: You’d be Welsh? C: Yeah. J: So it’s not on where you were born, but on where your parents were born? C: No. It’s blood, it’s blood in’t it?(Abell et al, 2007, pp.101-2)

19 19 Two assumptions: 1)‘support for the England team follows naturally from a sense of pride in a distinctive English national identity’ 2)‘English national identity is naturally and inevitably a function of personal and collective ancestry’ (Abell et al, 2007, p.102)

20 20 Multiple, overlapping discourses: Int: Where do you feel most at home then? P: I think feeling at home is is a hard job for me but I think in I think about it a lot cos I think [townname] is is the place ah Cos I’ve been here so long I’ve been here longer than anywhere else um and have so much in my own history now attached to [townname] um but it’s hard to say that it it’s home because you know or that I belong because my early history wasn’t in [townname] as (.) not many people’s was um But as I say there are no there are no there’s no family no extended family there are only relatively recent friends you know Anyone over the last twenty years um

21 21 Summary What is discourse analysis?

22 22 Two definitions: (1) The study of well-established meanings or ideas around a topic which shape how we can talk about it (2) The study of how meanings are established, used, challenged and changed (including in talk)

23 23 Why analyse discourse? To understand our social worlds and their complexity To understand the implications of certain meanings and world views To understand ourselves within our social worlds

24 24 What kinds of data? Language data (written, spoken - found, collected) Other kinds of evidence (images, behaviours, situations – found, collected)

25 25 Criticisms of discourse analytic research: Deterministic? (But also about how meanings are used and contested) Just words? (But discourse is material)

26 26 Why do discourse analysis? Varied possibilities Interesting About people and their social worlds

27 27 Dr Stephanie Taylor, The Open University


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