Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research

Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research

Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research

Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research

Synopsis

Analysing Discourse is an accessible introductory textbook for all students and researchers working with real language data.Drawing on a range of social theorists from Bourdieu to Habermas, as well as his own research, Fairclough's book presents a form of language analysis with a consistently social perspective. His approach is illustrated by and investigated through a range of real texts, from written texts, to a TV debate about the monarchy and a radio broadcast about the Lockerbie bombing. The student-friendly book also offers accessible summaries, an appendix of example texts, and a glossary of terms and key theorists.

Excerpt

This book is written with two main types of reader in mind: students and researchers in social science and humanities who have little if any background in language analysis (e.g. in Sociology, Political Science, Education, Geography, History, Social Administration, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Women's Studies); and students and researchers specializing in language.

People working in various areas of social science are often confronted with questions about language, and are often working with language materials - written texts, or conversation, or research interviews. However, my experience in teaching discourse analysis (for instance in the Faculty of Social Science research training programme at Lancaster University) indicates that there is widespread uncertainty about how to analyse such language material. I find that research students in Social Sciences often see the need to say more detailed things about their language data than they feel equipped to do. The prospect of following courses or reading books in Linguistics is generally daunting to them - not least because much of contemporary Linguistics is quite unsuitable for their purposes (especially the 'formal linguistics' which is concerned with abstract properties of human language, and has little to offer in the analysis of what people say or write). This book aims to provide a useable framework for analysing spoken or written language for people in social sciences and humanities with little or no background in language study, presented in a way which suggests how language analysis may enhance research into a number of issues which concern social scientists.

The book can also be seen as an introduction to social analysis of spoken and written language for people who already have some background in language analysis. There have been significant moves towards analysing language socially within Linguistics in recent decades - sociolinguistics and discourse analysis are now well-established parts of the field. But there are two limitations in most of this work which in this book I hope to begin to correct. The first is that themes and issues which interest social researchers have been taken up only to a rather limited extent. The second is that it is difficult to think of a relatively detailed presentation of

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