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Discourse and Contemporary Social Change


Edited By Norman Fairclough, Guiseppina Cortese and Patrizia Ardizzone

This book draws together a rich variety of perspectives on discourse as a facet of contemporary social change, representing a number of different disciplines, theoretical positions and methods. The specific focus of the volume is on discourse as a moment of social change, which can be seen to involve objects of research which comprise versions of some or all of the following research questions: How and where did discourses (narratives) emerge and develop? How and where did they achieve hegemonic status? How and where and how extensively have they been recontextualized? How and where and to what extent have they been operationalized? The dialectical approach indicated above implies that discourse analysis includes analysis of relations between language (more broadly, semiosis) and its social ‘context’.


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Section 4Media/Multimedia Analysis of Social Change


Section 4 Media/Multimedia Analysis of Social Change MARINA BONDI Key-words and Emotions: A Case Study of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry 1. Introduction The study of public, institutional discourse on conflictual issues can hardly ignore the interplay between different “types of meanings” (Fairclough 2003: 26-28, 225): (inter)actional meanings, enacting social relations in social events, representational meanings, repre- senting the world in texts, and identificatory meanings, contributing to the textual construction of identities in text. The single textual instance of these meanings is peculiarly related to the intertextual construction of the issue itself: the ongoing debate and the specific episode always co-exist in the text, in the same way as private and public identities are difficult to distinguish. Using public discourse on Northern Ireland as a case study of a theme, i.e. conflict in its various dimensions – physical, ideological and dialogical – we can look at ways in which the representation of conflict contributes to developing an argumentative position. In particular, this study will look at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, recently set up to reassess responsibility in the Bloody Sunday events of 1972 and in the following inquiry, focusing on what happened in court and how it was reported in the press. The specific episode of the Inquiry gives particular prominence to politicians discussing their present and past evaluations and positions, mostly by displaying emotions. The idea is to study how ideological and dialogical conflict is transposed from courtroom discourse to news discourse. The specific linguistic aim of this chapter is to...

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