Ruth Breeze and Inés Olza
Despite the apparent novelty and fluidity of the media today, there is strong evidence that patterns are emerging which both reflect and extend the evaluative paradigms previously observed in the print and broadcast media. In this complex scenario, discourse analysis offers a rich and varied methodology for understanding the different types of evaluation conveyed through media texts and the way these project, reflect and develop their relationships with their audience. The chapters in this volume draw on a variety of analytical tools, including appraisal analysis, argumentation theory, multimodal approaches and corpus linguistics, to address the issue of evaluation in media discourse. The theoretical underpinning for these chapters ranges from corpus-informed discourse studies, through critical discourse analysis and semio-communicative approaches, to Bakhtinian perspectives. Although the chapters are all in English, the scope of the volume is broadly European, covering aspects of the British, Spanish, Dutch and German media in their traditional and online manifestations, as well as contrastive studies.
This volume brings together a series of chapters that reflect key aspects of the research programme of the gradun project (Grupo de Análisis del Discurso, Universidad de Navarra, ICS), to which its coeditors Ruth Breeze and Inés Olza belong. Since it was founded in 2010, GRADUN’s core research has centred on public discourse, and more specifically, on media discourse, involving both team members and other colleagues in the application of a variety of analytical approaches to this important subject area.
The vast, swiftly changing scenario of public discourse, and the ongoing changes in its production and reception, mean that scholars must strive to keep up to date with this complex phenomenon, and to come up with more scientific responses to it. Although media discourse has always been a challenging topic (its inherent polyphony has been the object of many well-grounded analyses), today it presents us with certain characteristics which oblige us to tackle decisive issues such as: the progressive obliteration of differences between professional (or institutional) messages and non-professional ones; the nature of real-time interactions in the media between broadcasters/journalists and audience/readers, or enunciators and receptors; the ever-present possibility of recontextualisation and (de)legitimation of messages at different points along their routes of transmission; media effects on the use of formal and informal register and on discourse genres; and many other aspects. All this is happening in a framework within which multimodality is increasingly the rule rather than the exception.
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