This module aims to lead students to consider discourse production and reception as they are conditioned by their interactional, social, historical, political and cultural contexts and, in doing so, develop their awareness of what is involved in ‘situated’ discourse. Grounded in a view that culture is to a significant extent discursive – that is, based upon and realised by the ways in which we talk to each other about ‘ourselves’ and about ‘others’ – we take a critical linguistic and intercultural approach to our subject matter, hoping to draw upon the variety of students’ own cultural backgrounds as a basis for discussion and contrastive analysis.
The module will provide a critical overview of major theories in Discourse Studies and Intercultural Communication, but also aims to develop more practical, analytic skills – training students to identify patterns of organisation and discursive strategies in authentic written and oral texts, drawn from various sources (e.g. media, advertising, political speeches / interviews, casual conversation, etc.). We thus hope to enable students to develop a critical understanding of key concepts in, and approaches to, Discourse Analysis and of how language reflects, mediates or – arguably – creates our (various) everyday realities. Further, we aim to develop awareness of the increasing need for – and the problems involved in – communication across cultural boundaries of language(s), style(s) and value(s) in the context of ‘globalisation’.
Assessment: 4000-word essay, or report on a small-scale research project concerning some aspect of interdiscursive / intercultural communication.