Content / Discourse Analysis


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Content / Discourse Analysis

  1. 1. Topic 6: Content/Discourse Analysis BPAM311
  2. 2. Content analysis [1]  Focus on 6 question words 1. Who: Source (e.g., elites, social activists) 2. To whom: Receipt (e.g., citizens, supporters) 3. Why : Encoding process (via. story-telling) 4. How: Channel (e.g., style, persuasive skills) 5. What: Message (known audience) 6. With what effect: Decoding process (e.g., responses, readability)  the frequencies of most used keywords (KWIC meaning "Key Word in Context”) BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong2
  3. 3. Content analysis [2]  Address 6 questions: 1. Which data are analyzed? 2. How are they defined? 3. What is the population from which they are drawn? 4. What is the context relative to which the data are analyzed? 5. What are the boundaries of the analysis? 6. What is the target of the inferences? BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong3
  4. 4. Definition of Discourse ( 論述 ) • The summation [ 總和 ] of symbolic interchange, of what is being talked and written about, of the interrelations of symbolic interchange, of the interrelationships of symbols and their systematic occurrence • Can be sum total of meeting records, action of political demonstrators, slogans, posters, speeches, newspaper articles, satirical prints, pamphlets, and so on of a time, a place and a people. Also, spoken words, interactions – observed, audio- or video-recorded. BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong4
  5. 5. I. Semiotics [ 符號學 ] [1]  The theoretical basis of the relational conception of discourse is derived from the Swiss structural linguistic Saussure, who founded Semiotics.  Semiotics, of the study of signs, provides a set of assumptions and conceptions that permit systematic analysis of symbolic systems. BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong5
  6. 6. Try it……  Explore the possible meanings behind, and the possible purpose of, the electoral campaign’s poster.  Wordings  Images (Figures, objects, flags) BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong6
  7. 7. Semiotics [2]  Saussure makes a distinction between  Language 語言 (langue): a system of language  Speech 言語 (parole): actual speech act  Linguist primary concern:  Not to describe parole  Establish the elements and their rules of combination which constitute the linguistic system BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong7
  8. 8. Semiotics [3] 4 characteristics of signs 1. Bring together a concept (signifier) and an image (signified) 2. Signs are relational 3. The arbitrariness [ 任意 ] of signs 4. Can be put together through – Syntagmatic relations – combination – Paradigmatic oppositions – contrastive [ 對比 ] properties – E.g. Traffic lights BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong8
  9. 9. Semiotics [4] • Implications: for things and activities to be meaningful, they must be part of particular discourses • Each meaning is understood in relation to the overall practice which is taking place, and each practice in relation to a particular discourse • Social semioticians see social life, group structure, beliefs, practices, and the content of social relations as functionally analogous to the units that structure language • All human communication is a display of signs, a text to be “read” BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong9
  10. 10. Semiotics [5] • Sign functions are important because they represent social differentiation mark and reinforce social relations • The connections among signs are variable, and the resultant meanings are variables as well • Convention to restrict the range of meanings to 3 levels: 1. Denotative [ 指示 ] 2. Connotative [ 有含意 ] 3. Mythological/ allegorical [ 比喻 ] • E.g., school grades and performance BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong10
  11. 11. Semiotics [6] • As meaning are collected under an ideological canopy [ 覆蓋 ], knowing the culture becomes essential • Within a given cultural system, power and authority stabilize floating and arbitrary expressions to establish structural concreteness. • Theoretical influences of semiotics now flow from structural linguistics to varieties of structuralism, post-structuralism, and post- modernism BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong11
  12. 12. Semiotics [7] Critique 1. No explanation of the limits of the linguistic structure of language 2. Semiotics analysis tend to be static and unchanging 3. The model does not allow for the ambiguity and plurality of the linguistic meaning BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong12
  13. 13. II. Structuralism [1]  Made popular by Levi-Strauss in the 1960s  Sees “documents”, once viewed as actual physical assessable objects, as “texts”, analytic phenomena produced by definitions and theoretical operations  Texts, previously considered as self-writings for others’ reading, become real and decipherable [ 譯解 ] through a set of institutionally generated codes, or interpretive frames BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong13
  14. 14. Structuralism [2]  The method of analysis is structuralist when meaning in the object analyzed is taken to be dependent on the arrangement of its parts.  Seeks to indentify and array the units in a system to discover the “deeper” relationships or patterns underlying the event. The explanation sought is in terms of underlying rules, principles, or conventions that produce surface meanings. BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong14
  15. 15. Structuralism [3] Problems 1. Analysis synchronic [ 只涉及某一特定時期 ], obviates history 2. Confined to a closed system of meanings. Explanation is a semantic process that gives a type of statement like: one that meaningfully encodes already encoded values 3. “Dehumanizing” in its implications 4. Limited capacity to explain change BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong15
  16. 16. III. Post-structuralism [1]  Realize the uncertainty in meaning, thus formal model of meaning cannot be forced into simple matrices based on binary ( 二元 ) oppositions  Urge careful reconstruction of written text and their formulation, constitution, and conventional interpretation  Conventional canons (rules) of interpretation reflect dominant values, they obscure [ 隱藏 ] the virtues of writers, ideas, perspectives, and values deemed “marginal” BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong16
  17. 17. Post-structuralism [2]  Turns attention to the margins and reverses the usual adherence to dominant cultural values  A text is an occasion for the interplay of multiple codes and perspectives. One must seek to extract and examine the operations by which meaning is conveyed. BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong17
  18. 18. Criticisms of DT 1. The fragmentation of social structures  Does not give primacy to the economy 1. The abandonment of the concept of ideology  Refuse to treat ideology as a form of “false consciousness” 3. Inability to analyze social and political institutions  Quite a valid criticism BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong18
  19. 19. Example [1] Alexander and Smith (1993)  Civil society consists of institutions, actors, and relationships between actors  They assume that the institutions of civil society, and their decisions, are informed by a unique set of cultural codes  American civil society displays a set of binary codes which discusses and interrelates these 3 dimensions of social-structural reality in a patterned and coherent way. BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong19
  20. 20. Example [2]  Data: newspapers, news magazines, congressional hearing records  Revealed the discursive structure of actions, structure of social relationships, and social institutions BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong20
  21. 21. Example [3]: Discursive structure of actions Democratic code Counter-democratic Active Passive Autonomous Dependent Rational Irrational Reasonable Hysterical calm Excitable controlled Passionate Realistic Unrealistic Sane Mad BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong21
  22. 22. Example [4]: Discursive structure of social relationships Democratic code Counter-democratic Open Secret Trusting Suspicious Critical Deferential Truthful Deceitful Straightforward Calculating citizen Enemy BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong22
  23. 23. Example [5]: Discursive structure of social institutions Democratic code Counter-democratic Rule regulated Arbitrary Law Power Equality Hierarchy Inclusive Exclusive Impersonal Personal Contractual Ascriptive Groups Factions Office Personality BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong23
  24. 24. Discussion Study the below text, 1. Propose some interesting themes after scanning it 2. Identify and explain why some key items, words, statements that you find them interested, meaningful and/or doubtful  Any patterns?  Nature of wordings? (positive, negative, mixed, or positive surface but negative value, and vice versa?)  Meanings? (original, intentional, distortive, etc.) 1. Explain what is/are the contextual factor/s that the text was appeared 2. Explain what is/are the purpose/s behind the text? BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong24
  25. 25. 行政長官 2008 年施政報告(結語) 1. 公平的本質,在於以法治為基礎,沒有一個人受到忽視,每個 人都能根據自身的情況,獲得合理、妥善的對待,並以同樣的 原則和態度對待他人。 2. 公平,還在於讓才幹出 ,成績突出的人,獲得較大的欣賞與眾 回報,因此,共富的重點,在於一批又一批的人,越來越多的 人,通過共同的 搏和分享,從而,雖有處境、能力、模式和拚 過程的分別,但大家最終就像兄弟姊妹都會長大成人一樣,先 後走上富足的道路。 3. 和諧,離不開承擔與包容,關鍵在於自我之外,還兼顧他人。 4. 發展較快的人,對發展較慢的人要主動多作承擔,多作扶持; 發展較慢的人,要以自我承擔,包容他人的精神,力求上進, 力求突破。 5. 有了公平、共富、和諧的理念和實踐,大家都會為有仁義,有 投入,有個性,有意思,有方向感的生活而自豪,明白他人之 所得亦是自己之所得,他人之所失亦是自己之所失,從而就會 無比珍惜屬於我們共同管治、共同擁有的一切。 BAPM311|T6|Dr. Wong25