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Naum Aksenov
Naum Aksenov

Political Discourse Analysis

The objects of discourse analysis (discourse, writing, conversation, communicative event) are variously defined in terms of coherent sequences of sentences, propositions, speech, or turns-at-talk. Contrary to much of traditional linguistics, discourse analysts not only study language use 'beyond the sentence boundary' but also prefer to analyze 'naturally occurring' language use, not invented examples.[1] Text linguistics is a closely related field. The essential difference between discourse analysis and text linguistics is that discourse analysis aims at revealing socio-psychological characteristics of a person/persons rather than text structure.[2]

Political discourse analysis


Discourse analysis has been taken up in a variety of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including linguistics, education, sociology, anthropology, social work, cognitive psychology, social psychology, area studies, cultural studies, international relations, human geography, environmental science, communication studies, biblical studies, public relations, argumentation studies, and translation studies, each of which is subject to its own assumptions, dimensions of analysis, and methodologies.

The ancient Greeks (among others) had much to say on discourse; however, there is ongoing discussion about whether Austria-born Leo Spitzer's Stilstudien (Style Studies) of 1928 is the earliest example of discourse analysis (DA). Michel Foucault translated it into French.[3] However, the term first came into general use following the publication of a series of papers by Zellig Harris from 1952[citation needed] reporting on work from which he developed transformational grammar in the late 1930s. Formal equivalence relations among the sentences of a coherent discourse are made explicit by using sentence transformations to put the text in a canonical form. Words and sentences with equivalent information then appear in the same column of an array.

This work progressed over the next four decades (see references) into a science of sublanguage analysis (Kittredge & Lehrberger 1982), culminating in a demonstration of the informational structures in texts of a sublanguage of science, that of Immunology, (Harris et al. 1989)[4] and a fully articulated theory of linguistic informational content (Harris 1991).[5] During this time, however, most linguists ignored such developments in favor of a succession of elaborate theories of sentence-level syntax and semantics.[6]

In January 1953, a linguist working for the American Bible Society, James A. Lauriault/Loriot, needed to find answers to some fundamental errors in translating Quechua, in the Cuzco area of Peru. Following Harris's 1952 publications, he worked over the meaning and placement of each word in a collection of Quechua legends with a native speaker of Quechua and was able to formulate discourse rules that transcended the simple sentence structure. He then applied the process to Shipibo, another language of Eastern Peru. He taught the theory at the [7] Summer Institute of Linguistics in Norman, Oklahoma, in the summers of 1956 and 1957 and entered the [8] University of Pennsylvania to study with Harris in the interim year. He tried to publish a paper [9]Shipibo Paragraph Structure, but it was delayed until 1970 (Loriot & Hollenbach 1970).[citation needed] In the meantime, Kenneth Lee Pike, a professor at University of Michigan,[10] Ann Arbor, taught the theory, and one of his students, Robert E. Longacre developed it in his writings. Harris's methodology disclosing the correlation of form with meaning was developed into a system for the computer-aided analysis of natural language by a team led by Naomi Sager at NYU, which has been applied to a number of sublanguage domains, most notably to medical informatics. The software for the Medical Language Processor is publicly available on SourceForge.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, and without reference to this prior work, a variety of other approaches to a new cross-discipline of DA began to develop in most of the humanities and social sciences concurrently with, and related to, other disciplines. These include semiotics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics. Many of these approaches, especially those influenced by the social sciences, favor a more dynamic study of oral talk-in-interaction. An example is [11]"conversational analysis", which was influenced by the Sociologist Harold Garfinkel,[12] the founder of Ethnomethodology.

Often a distinction is made between 'local' structures of discourse (such as relations among sentences, propositions, and turns) and 'global' structures, such as overall topics and the schematic organization of discourses and conversations. For instance, many types of discourse begin with some kind of global 'summary', in titles, headlines, leads, abstracts, and so on.

A problem for the discourse analyst is to decide when a particular feature is relevant to the specification required. A question many linguists ask is: "Are there general principles which will determine the relevance or nature of the specification?[17]"[citation needed]

Political discourse is the text and talk of professional politicians or political institutions, such as presidents and prime ministers and other members of government, parliament or political parties, both at the local, national and international levels, includes both the speaker and the audience.[20]

Political discourse analysis is a field of discourse analysis which focuses on discourse in political forums (such as debates, speeches, and hearings) as the phenomenon of interest. Policy analysis requires discourse analysis to be effective from the post-positivist perspective.[21][22]

Corporate discourse can be broadly defined as the language used by corporations. It encompasses a set of messages that a corporation sends out to the world (the general public, the customers and other corporations) and the messages it uses to communicate within its own structures (the employees and other stakeholders).[25]

Political tensions have grown throughout Europe since the beginning of the new century. The consecutive crises led to the rise of different social movements in several countries, in which the political status quo changed. These changes included an increment of the different tensions underlying politics, as has been reported after many other political and economical crises during the twentieth century. This article proposes the study of the political discourse, and its underlying tension, during Madrid's elections (Spain) in May 2021 by using a mixed approach. To demonstrate if an aggressive tone is used during the campaign, a mixed methodology approach is applied: quantitative computational techniques, related to natural language processing, are used to conduct a first general analysis of the information screened; then, these methods are used for detecting specific trends that can be later filtered and analyzed using a qualitative approach (content analysis), which is also conducted to extract insights about the information found. The main outcomes of this study show that the electoral campaign is not as negative as perceived by the citizens and that there was no relationship between the tone of the discourse and its dissemination. The analysis confirms that the most ideologically extreme parties tend to have a more aggressive language than the moderate ones. The content analysis carried out using our methodology showed that Twitter is used as a sentiment thermometer more than as a way of communicating concrete politics.

Political Discourse Analysis integrates analysis of arguments into critical discourse analysis and political discourse analysis. The book is grounded in a view of politics in which deliberation, decision and action are crucial concepts: politics is about arriving cooperatively at decisions about what to do in the context of disagreement, conflict of interests and values, power inequalities, uncertainty and risk.

This exciting new text, co-written by bestselling author Norman Fairclough, is essential reading for researchers, upper undergraduate and postgraduate students of discourse analysis, within English language, linguistics, communication studies, politics and other social sciences.

Unlike enunciative pragmatics, the Anglo-Saxon strand of PrM research has focused on procedural items in oral discourse, mostly in spontaneous everyday conversations and interviews designed to prompt natural speech (cf., for example, Schiffrin, 1987; Schourup, 1999). In recent years, however, there has been a slow increase of interest in the use of PrMs in political discourse. Aijmer and Fetzer (2014) note that there has also been a shift of focus from theoretical studies to usage and corpus-based investigations, as well as variation analyses with special reference to context- and domain-specific functions (Aijmer and Fetzer, 2014: 2).

However, both theoretical and empirical approaches to PrMs have been primarily descriptive and / or discourse analytical (rather than discourse theoretical), critical macro- or micro-analyses with ethical or societal preoccupations have been scarce or even non-existent. This is illustrated by the fact that even case studies that take their data from political discourse focus on linguistic patterns of co-occurrence and sequentiality rather than social-institutional norms or broader societal concerns. Zovko (2012), for example, studied the distributional patterns of PrMs in interviews with presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with US presidents. Similarly, Fetzer (2014) examined the distribution of I think, I mean and I believe in political monologues and dialogues with a view to finding co-occurrence patterns among PrMs and other linguistic expressions of modality and evidentiality.

As we saw above, there is very little CDA-informed research into the functional properties of PrMs in political discourse in general, and political news interviews in particular. The majority of CDA-informed micro-analyses tend to focus on the manipulative potential of the choice of content words, that is, conceptual items (for example, Wodak, 1989; van Dijk, 1993) and morpho-syntactic choices such as activation / passivation (van Leeuwen, 1996; Tranchese and Zollo, 2013), nominalization (Fowler et al., 1979; Billig, 2008), the use of pronouns (Bramley, 2001; Irimiea, 2010; Ho, 2013), and the ergative (Stubbs, 1996). As for the study of pragmalinguistic and socio-pragmatic phenomena, there has been an increasing interest in CDA in face management (Armasu, 2013), the realisation of particular speech acts (for example, Hill, 1999; Fetzer, 2007), as well as conversational strategies and topical organization (for example, Greatbatch, 1986; Becker, 2007). 041b061a72


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