Discourse analysis is not just one approach, but a crossroad of inter- transdisciplinary approaches which deals with the social construction of meaning relating rhetoric’s procedures, inquiry of narrative structures, ideology and culture.
This goes beyond the study of “parole” Saussure, putting aside “what” is said to consider “how” it is said.
So when we speak about Discourse, we refer to a certain time, its intentions, the contextual relationships and interrelationship, as well as the spatial, temporal, social and cultural relationships, that go beyond the classic conception of a language as an organized body of signals, based on the observation of numerous social construction of meaning processes.
Its limits are not clear and it is approached from diverse theoretical positions such as Ethnography, Structuralism, Semiotics, Sociolinguistics, Pragmatism, Ethnomethodology, Psychoanalysis, Social Psychology and of course, Communication Studies.
To carry out Discourse Analysis, we should start by the non-reductive and dynamic task of identifying it; in order to do so, it goes without saying that an adequate analysis of the complex and dialogic relations between texts and contexts is required.
The Discourse to be analyzed will always illustrate its unity in diversity and will be a contingent point of meaning fixation based on our Observation-Observed.
In this context, Discourse Analysis involves at least:
Describing its Texts: physical, psychological, political, cultural components, etc; their explicit and implicit themes or issues and the main actors involved in the conversation;
Identifying their Contexts: ideological, evaluative, political and social ones providing the linguistic resources and rhetorical and ethical, aesthetic and economic strategies that give social support and legitimacy to it;
Creating a Dynamic–Relational Discursive Model: that will allow an analysis and various theoretical interpretations of the studied Discourse in connection with Texts and Contexts worked in the previous points.
Theoretical pieces of work referred to Critical Discourse Analysis can also be found. They are orientated to facilitate a critical analysis of the structures and strategies of legitimacy of power by doing research work of the different ways in which discourse contributes to inequality and social injustice, specifying who has access to discourse structures and communication that have been accepted and legitimized by society.
Finally, it is worth noting that from a methodological approach, the strength of Discourse Analysis is given by the depth and complexity of the conceptual elaborations and interpretations provided. For empiricists and quantitative methodology, their recurrence and dependence of interpretive and theoretical approaches conspire against the linking of the results of other research techniques. Those approaches are often more inclined to techniques such as Content Analysis than Discourse Analysis.
When using Text Analysis’ techniques in general we should bear in mind Umberto Eco's assertion regarding the limits of interpretation which are always related to the text structure.
Applications: Design of Corporate Communication Strategies, Political Communication, Marketing Communication, Internal Communication, Crisis Communication, Risk Management, Media Analysis, Visual Communication Audit, Corporate Culture Audit, Design of Corporate Image.
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