Using Discourse Analysis on News Media Content Done by 2 FL master students: Smagulova D., Tleulinova A. Outline • Defining discourse analysis • Discourse and Power • Three key discourse analytical frameworks – Michel Foucault – Teun A. van Dijk – Norman Fairclough • Flaws of existing frameworks for analysis of news media texts • Critique of suggested improvements Defining Discourse Analysis • Two main definitions – As social action and interaction between human agents – As social construction of reality that creates a knowledge system; influences our social practice and relations • Effective qualitative supplement to quantitative content analysis • Considers link between media content and wider sociopolitical framework Discourse and Power • Discourse linked to power and social interests • Language use and social practice framed by institutions – Institutions determine rules and and positions of agents Three Key Scholars • Michel Foucault’s system of representation • Teun van Dijk’s socio-cognitive approach • Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis Foucault’s System of Representation • Discourse as system of representation • Discourse – Knowledge – Power • Discursive formation can sustain “regime of truth” • Subjects constructed through discourse • Opposes Marxist theory of ideology • Intertextuality and interdiscursivity Foucault’s System of Representation • Criticisms: – No structured and comprehensive methodology – Subject as mere product of discursive practices Van Dijk’s Socio-Cognitive Approach • Reducing textual info to fundamental themes • On thematic level: – Looks at overall description of text/ macrostructures – Reduces complicated info to macro-propositions • On schematic level: – Analyse schematic structures that influence form of the text Van Dijk’s Socio-Cognitive Approach • Criticisms: – Ignores intertextual relations – Difficult to compare across large number of texts – Uncritical reproduction of power relations and ideologies Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis • Discourses influence social relations and knowledge systems through language • Group together to form discursive order • Discourse analysis = analysis of discursive event + analysis of discursive order • Three dimensions: – Analysis of 1) language texts, 2) discourse practice, 3) discursive events as instances of sociocultural practice • Impt terms: Discourse practice, intertextuality Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis • Criticisms: – Textual-oriented approach – Over-ambitious methodical frame – Questionable linkage between textual description and interpretation – Lack of understanding of human agency Discourse Analysis for News • Shaping presentation of media texts – Professional ideology of journalists, news organizations – State and corporate pressures – Ownership of media – Profit motivation of news organization Discourse Analysis for News • Key considerations neglected in current frameworks – – – – Origins of competing discourses Presence of divergent social accounts Influence of external factors Meaning of the text to different audiences Discourse Analysis for News • Other issues – – – – – Accuracy of representations Views included/ excluded in a text Rhetoric of political stories Time-sensitivity Interaction between discourse and social realities: Circulation of meaning Suggested Improvements • Carvalho (2000) – Textual analysis • • • • Language and rhetoric Discursive strategies and processes Ideological standpoints (Surface descriptors, objects, actors) – Contextual Analysis • Comparative-synchronic analysis • Historical-diachronic analysis Suggested Improvements • Pros – Intertextual and contextual – Time-sensitive – Accounts for journalistic intervention • Cons – Neglects production processes of text and audience reception Suggested Improvements • Greg Philo (2007), Glasgow University Media Group – Interviews and focus groups with journalists and audiences – E.g. Coverage of Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the UK Israeli-Palestinian Conflict • Reports on killing of young Palestinian boy Mohd Al-Durrah in Oct 2000 • Images of him and his father crouched against wall widely shown Israeli-Palestinian Conflict • Israelis issued statement that boy’s death was unintentional • Israelis focused on “war on terror”: Israel as threatened and “responding” to attacks • Palestinians rejected this account • Israeli view dominant in news Israeli-Palestinian Conflict • Influences on UK journalists – – – – – Strong support in US for Israel Close political link between UK and US Well-organized lobbying and public relations Views of political and public figures Aim for balance: Sympathetic, acknowledge boy killed by Israelis Israeli-Palestinian Conflict • Audience reception of messages – Reproduced content and structure of news progs • Little reference to Palestinian viewpoint – Reproduced structure and sequence of accounts based on news reports • Reorganized memories to give meaning to the event Conclusion • Need to analyze media texts against total system • Consider processes of production, content, reception and circulation • Comprehensive discourse analysis: Better understanding of generation and reproduction of social meanings through news media References 1.Fairclough, N.L. (1985) Critical and Descriptive Goals in Discourse Analysis , Journal of Pragmatics 9: 739-63. Fairclough, N. (1989) Language and Power. London: Longman. 2. Foucault, M. (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Writings and Other Interviews 1972- l977, ed. C. Gordon. New York: Pantheon. 3. Van Dijk, T.A. (1984). Prejudice in Discourse. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Van Dijk, T.A. (19187a) Communicating Racism. Newbury Park. CA: Sage. 4.Van Dijk, T.A. (1987b) Episodic Models in Discourse Processing , in R. t Horowitz and S.J. Samuels (eds) Comprehending Oral and Written Language, pp. 161-96. New York: Academic Press. 5.Van Dijk, T.A. (1989a) Social Cognition and Discourse , in H. Giles and R.P. Robinson (eds) Handbook of Social Psychology and Language, pp. 163-83. Chichester: Wiley.