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Subject Linguistics » Discourse Analysis

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631205968.2003.00001.x


Discourse analysis is a rapidly growing and evolving field. Current research in this field now flows from numerous academic disciplines that are very different from one another. Included, of course, are the disciplines in which models for understanding, and methods for analyzing, discourse first developed, such as linguistics, anthropology, and philosophy. But also included are disciplines that have applied – and thus often extended – such models and methods to problems within their own academic domains, such as communication, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and artificial intelligence. Given this disciplinary diversity, it is no surprise that the terms “discourse” and “discourse analysis” have different meanings to scholars in different fields. For many, particularly linguists, “discourse” has generally been defined as anything “beyond the sentence.” For others (for example Fasold 1990 : 65), the study of discourse is the study of language use. These definitions have in common a focus on specific instances or spates of language. But critical theorists and those influenced by them can speak, for example, of “discourse of power” and “discourses of racism,” where the term “discourses” not only becomes a count noun, but further refers to a broad conglomeration of linguistic and nonlinguistic social practices and ideological assumptions that together construct power or racism. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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