What is Discourse Analysis?


So I have a very difficult question to ask in this particular
video and that is what is discourse analysis it’s
a really difficult question to ask and to answer because it means so many different things to so many different people
so I want to explain a few things about how people differentially look at discourse and us how they look at discourse analysis now and I’ll two steps and quick examples
for you so the first question to ask really is what a discourse, now if you’re going
to do analysis a bit your understanding of what it is discourse really has a lot to do with how are you going
to go about methodologically looking at discourse so Shiffrin et al now wrote really nice handbook in their introduction note that there are three main categories of definitions of discourse even though
when you read a book on discourse analysis oftentimes
you’ll see lots things that don’t necessarily put it
into any kind of concise definition but they can not sum it up has these three anything beyond the sentence so in previous video I talked
about how you’ve got phonology and morphology syntax, semantics, pragmatics all those things they go into sentence level a kind of linguistic details discourse Luke said anything beyond just that singular
sentence of your strange two sentences together or if you have two people
in conversation that are you know doing a sentence each then you’ve
got discourse second definition is language in use so this is actually help people go about doing language in the context that
they’re doing it so any kind have situation where people are actually doing things with language that would be language in use
so a conversation that you when I might have been a coffee shop would be use language in a particular situation and someone could
sit down and analyze the discourse that particular conversation and the third
one is one that tends to get use a lot more these days in
academia but it’s one that’s a little bit more difficult to understand it’s a a broader range of social practice that includes non linguistic and non-specific instances of language use so in this sense discourse can include social practices that are non linguistic things like the clothing that people wearing the kinds of a things that they’re carrying with
them technology devices or bags or props or whatever they happen have with them
gestures and all those things that actually don’t count as assorted linguistic peace language can count
within these things that we talk about in terms of social practice and
also non specific instances language in use so they don’t have to be actual
as with definition number two language in use
a particular situation but general understanding what people do in conversation or in writing in terms of the kinds of understandings they bring to any particular topic and particularly for that third one I think Foucault shelf coz Center discourses the one that’s probably the most often used and for Foucault it’s not just the language
of individual communication Foucault would regard
that as just simply a sample the discourse really
he’s understanding discourse to mean the larger systems of thought to go on within
a particular historical location that makes certain things thinkable and sayable and also regulate who can say them
so it’s these kinds of larger themes and ideas and understandings that we
have that in some ways pre-seed any actual language use so that we understand these discourses about say military discourses about madness about disease about religion I mean all sorts
of discourses that pre-seed anything we actually say so
and they cannot contain what is actually thinkable and sayable at those times and again it’s about a particular historical location for those things so oftentimes Foucault would look back several centuries that help people look at and thought about madness for instance and
help those understandings those discourses about madness
with change overtime so if those are the three senses that we have of discourse language be on the sentence language in use or larger social practices what then his discourse analysis how do we go about actually thinking through work discourses do and how
they operate so Jim G in his book an introduction to discourse analysis breaks down discourse analysis
to into two basic approaches one which would be basically purely descriptive largely linguistic so looking at the actual
language details and how languages and their grammer’s work together
to kind of career and make things that people say meaningful and in a broad sense and the second basic approach would then be critical so more aplied understandings of that linguistic information and with particularly political bent so understanding
how power flows and operates within society using language and Hodges and colleagues in a two thousand eight articles candidly up three different approaches to
discourse analysis so they break down and little bit differently one would be formal linguistic discourse analysis
very descriptive and that would be taking samples have written or oral language syntax
and doing microanalysis and linguistic grammatical and
semantic uses and meanings of text and also in Oxford descriptive aim would be empirical discourse now so this kind of lines
up with more language in use the first one formal
linguistic discourse analysis lined up with language be on the sentence this is more the second one empirical discourse
analysis is language in use so be samples a written or oral language
in text and they are on the uses of the text or that language in social setting
so we would again be microanalysis and to some extent macro analysis now ways that language In text constructs social practices
so how people are actually using them are applying language and just as G points out in the third one lined up very well with the larger social practices definition discourse who which would
be critical discourse analysis and their example
is Colin discourse analysis so you’d be taking
samples written or oral language text and date on the uses of those text and social situations and date on the institutions and individuals
who produce and are produced by the language text now
produced and produced by that would be like if we were talking about
mental illness the people who are producing these text would
be doctors nurses psychologists perhaps religious leaders those kinds of things and
the people who are produced by those text the actual mentally ill people and those sources a day to you with kinda do a
macro analysis have held discourses in many many forms or actually constructing
what’s possible for individuals to think and to say now I want to kinda give some illustrations this and to kinda again lineup all these things together because again there’s
a lot going on but there’s really different ways that we can think about discourse and corresponding three different ways to think
about discourse analysis so the first one again was language beyond since and people who are mainly gonna be interested
and this kind of discourse in doing that kind
of discourse analysis would be linguists linguist a here really wants to do we might think I’ve as diagramming sentences and looking at how those formal properties are playing in discourse analysis were in help people are using more than one sentence
or strings have sentences are strings paragraphs together in the second one member is language in use and this would be maine aapko people applicable excuse me too applied linguists things like conversation analysis this sup discipline you may have heard of and and this notion a plane which in use it’s really gonna be belt that sorta empirical discourse analysis that
we talked about these always focus on particular spades language use so it could be something along
the lines love hey nursing you’ll forgive me for using this sort of old-style nurses had but headliners stethoscope has conversations with the patient poor sick person in the bed about post-op care so someone who’s looking
at language in use for this particular situation might be interested
in things like how she establishes notions of authority up and that particular situation so be you looking at very on the ground instances love language in use so that’s the second one and third in we’d have the notion I love larger social practices which would include particulier are looking at Co now you don’t have to do for Korean analysis
to do this third tight but this is one other ways in
which social practices definitions and what we would call critical discourse analysis
is often done and so oftentimes whereas with the others linguists or applied
linguists would be interested and the other two lots of Social
Sciences are very interested and the social practices version love discourse in discourse miles so sociologists communications education lots of different disciplines are looking to this type of discourse analysis to understand particularly critical issue so it be issues hold power relations oftentimes and held inequality plays out through name which so for instance you might have now question about how a particular period in time and a particular place on a map would construct particular understanding about and issuers social kinda objects so for instance we might talk
about masculinity so how does a particular society at a particular time understand masculinity and what is thinkable and what
his say a wall about masculinity during that time period so for instance masculinity in the nineteen forties has a
lot of overlap with masculinity today but discourses about the
body and masculinity were very different so if
you look at you-know-who word considered very masculine bodies masculine people back ten you know you’d have the sort up Sam Spade character you know who
was toughened didn’t take any ball have anybody now but who was in in a lot of ways very supportive small physically whereas when you get to the
nineteen eighties and to some extent today muscularity plays a much bigger part love discourses of masculinity so really dis this notion of social practices
belt critical power dynamics inequalities those kinds of
things in producing what is thinkable and say a bullet any one time so doing it kind of analysis these practices involves looking at lots a
different texts and showing how these things are temporarily and geographically located so I hope that
helps to clear up some the confusion I know it’s not
going to completely take it all away because again
there’s three very different contrasting ways of going about
doing discourse analysis known as the the right way to do it it’s just how different
kinds of practices have developed can all get basically the same name work but as you read moreabout discourse analysis
I think a lotta the confusion and ambiguity between
them clears up so I hope that’s the case for you thanks for
listening