Media Discourses: Analysing Media Texts

Media Discourses: Analysing Media Texts

Media Discourses: Analysing Media Texts

Media Discourses: Analysing Media Texts


Some of the most important questions regarding the relationship between media and culture are about communication. How are the meanings which make up a culture shared in society? How is power performed in the media? What identities and relationships take shape there?

Media Discourses introduces readers to discourse analysis to show how media communication works. Written in a lively style and drawing on examples from contemporary media, it discusses what precisely gets represented in mediatexts, who gets to do the talking, what knowledge people need toshare in order to understand the media and how power relations are reinforced or challenged. Each chapter discusses a particular media genre, including news, advertising, reality television and weblogs. At the same time, each chapter also introduces a range of approaches to media discourse, from analysis of linguistic details to the rules of conversation and the discursive construction of selfhood. A glossary explains key terms and suggestions for further reading are given at the end of each chapter.

This is a key text for media studies, mass communication, communication studies, linguistics and journalism studies students.


Since our way of seeing things is literally our way of living, the process of
communication is in fact the process of community: the sharing of com
mon meanings, and thence common activities and purposes; the offering,
reception and comparison of new meanings, leading to tensions and
achievements of growth and change.

(Williams 1961: 55)

We study the media –; indeed, call that study ';media studies'; or ';communication studies'; –; because of an assumption that television, newspapers, texting and other widely available communication forms play an important role in mediating society to itself. We assume that the shared world of a culture –; what its members think is real, interesting, beautiful, moral and all the other meanings they attach to the world –; is partly constructed by each member and partly by institutions such as newspapers or radio stations, and prevailing ideas. To use Raymond Williams'; words quoted above, the ways of seeing each other which people find in a soap opera such as EastEnders are part of their ways of living, part of the shared meanings and purposes that make a particular culture.

Discourse analysis of the media allows us to describe and assess this sharing of meaning in close detail. It analyses which representations of the social world predominate. It analyses what kinds of interactions media texts set up between people and the world and between the powerful and the rest. And it analyses how meaning is made differently in different media texts, and therefore what different ways of seeing and thinking tend to be found there.

At the heart of the book is a concern with the power of media institutions . . .

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