Analysing discourse- textual analysis for social research by Norman Fairclough

By Norman Fairclough

Analysing Discourse is an available introductory textbook for all scholars and researchers operating with genuine language data.

Drawing on a number of social theorists from Bourdieu to Habermas, in addition to his personal study, Norman Fairclough's booklet offers a kind of language research with a constantly social viewpoint. His process is illustrated via and investigated via a number of actual texts, from written texts, to a television debate in regards to the monarchy and a radio broadcast in regards to the Lockerbie bombing. The student-friendly publication additionally deals available summaries, an appendix of instance texts, and a thesaurus of phrases and key theorists.

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One issue is 'framing': when the voice of another is incorporated into a text, there are always choices about how to `frame' it, how to contextualize it, in terms of other parts of the text — about relations between report and authorial account. For example, the report that the Libyans `said they wanted more time to sort out the details of the handover' is framed with `faced by the threat of more sanctions', and one might see this framing as conducive to a rather negative interpretation of what the Libyan officials are reported to have said as, for instance, `stalling' — indeed the Correspondent does later hypothesize about `a delaying tactic'.

But it is analytically useful to begin with some rough idea of them, for a significant initial question is: which texts and voices are included, which are excluded, and what significant absences are there? I noted above, for instance, that in the case of Example 1, the ethnographic interview, the manager does not incorporate the voice of the senior management even though he is mainly talking about the senior management: he represents what senior management do, but not what they say, whereas the voices of a worker and of trade-unionists are incorporated (though the latter in terms of what they `would' say).

The answer would seem to be: genre. This text is `mixed' in terms of genre, as I pointed out in chapter 2, but its intertextuality is typical of press reports. The pattern is an alternation between authorial accounts and indirect reports, backed up or substantiated with direct quotations. Even if, as seems likely in this case, all the information about the town emanates from other voices, the genre of press report favours this distribution of information between the authorial voice and attributed voices.

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