Discourse Analysis for Rhetorical StudiesUniversity of New Mexico, November 11, 2005 Barbara Johnstone, firstname.lastname@example.org Rhetoric Program, Department of English Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh PA 15217 USA
What is discourse analysis? “Discourse” “Analysis” I approach discourse analysis as a set of methods of inquiry (not a subfield of linguistics or literary/cultural studies)
Discourse analysis is used in many fields, including Sociolinguistics Anthropology Cultural studies Psychology Communications Sociology Geography Human-computer interaction Law Medicine Public policy Business Tourism studies
Some uses of discourse analysis in rhetorical studies Academic and workplace writing and the composition classroom (eg. Nystrand, Fuller & Lutz on classroom discourse; Barton, Peck MacDonald on academic discourse; Swales on ESL writing; Kaufer et al. on representation and design) Scientific and technical discourse (eg. Bazerman, Atkinson; Berkenkotter, Geisler on medical discourse; Stygall on legal discourse) Argumentation (eg. Jakobs & Jackson, Tracy) Literacy studies (eg. Gee) [Handout: Annotated bibliography of discourse analysis in rhetorical studies]
Among the rhetorical questions our students have addressed through discourse analysis are these: • What ideas about language and gender underlie the design of “communicatively competent” software agents? (turn-taking and politeness in the Loebner competition) • How has Waco come to be a “rhetorical icon” via accounts of what happened there in 1993? • How does scientific discourse serve as a rhetorical resource in public debate about sexuality, and how does public discourse shape scientific discourse? (intertextual chains linking research study, press release, media accounts about “reparative therapy” for homosexuality) • How does the rhetorical situation of participants in the South African Truth and Reconciliation hearings affect the “truth” that is constructed and the kinds of reconciliation that can result? (how perpetrators and victims are named and described; transitivity and agency) • How does a new organization develop conventions for projecting institutional identity and carrying out procedure? • What can we learn about rhetorical ethos by looking at online chat? (the significance of narrative in the projection of professional identity) • How do news articles represent and create “controversy”?
Carrying out a rhetorical research project using DA might involve several steps: • Start with a a body of texts and a general question about them. • Using a list of factors that shape discourse as a heuristic, interrogate one of your texts from a variety of perspectives to develop hypotheses about how rhetorical effects and properties of the texts are related. • Then create and apply a systematic coding scheme to test one of your hypotheses on a set of texts. • If an appropriate system for automating your analysis is available, or if an existing system suggests a different coding scheme that looks promising, consider using it. • At every stage, keep going back to your texts to explore reasons for the patterns you find and to get ideas about what else is going on.
What is an inventional heuristic? “Invention” “Heuristic”
Sources of constraint on discourse Discourse is shaped by the world and shapes the world. Discourse is shaped by language and shapes language. Discourse is shaped by participants and shapes participants. Discourse is shaped by prior discourse and shapes future discourse. Discourse is shaped by medium and shapes medium. Discourse is shaped by purpose and shapes purposes. [Handout: some areas of choice]