Discourse

No academic concept offers the luxury of being completely stable and uncontested, but the interdisciplinary nature of discourse studies (with strong influences of linguistics, political studies, and philosophy) has resulted in a particular diversity of meanings and uses. At the same time, exactly this diversity is its strength, offering many different entry points for the study of media, and encouraging us not somehow to choose the “best” approach, but rather to look at the menu that discourse studies has to offer, and then wisely select what fits the appetite best.

In order to unpack the diversity of meanings attributed to the concept of discourse, we can first distinguish between micro- and macro-textual approaches (Carpentier and De Cleen 2007; see also Gee 1990). In the micro-textual approaches of discourse, the concept’s close affiliation with language is emphasized, an approach we can also label, following Philips and Jørgensen (2002, 62), discourse-as-language. Van …

This essay may be found on page 59 of the printed volume.

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