[xmca] Book review

From: Phil Chappell (philchappell@mac.com)
Date: Sun Jul 03 2005 - 02:41:51 PDT

Interesting book in light of what we're doing right now.

  EDITORS: Young, Lynne; Harrison, Claire
  TITLE: Systemic Functional Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis
  SUBTITLE: Studies in Social Change
  PUBLISHER: Continuum International Publishing Group, Ltd.
  YEAR: 2004
  Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-912.html

  Salvio Martín Menéndez, Universidad de Buenos Aires,
  Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, CONICET

  This collection of papers focuses on social change in different
  and through a wide range of voices. It offers a view of both systemic
  functional linguistics (SFL) and critical discourse analysis (CDA), and
  looks at the relationship between these approaches to language.

  The book is divided into two parts; the theoretical section explores
  ways to study social, political, and economic transformations, whilst
  the applied section examines the effects of social change on national
  and institutional identities.


  The opening paper of the Theoretical Section is "Analysing Discursive
  Variation" by Ruqaiya Hasan. First, she proposes to identify the
  relevance which underlies the presence of consistency and variation
  found in language. She shows that there are many ways of using the
  term discourse. She proposes how it is used in SFL: "discourse is the
  process of language in some recognizable social context" (16). Then,
  she gives a characterization of variation in relation to consistency or
  normality. She argues "that variation is in fact a form of consistency"
  (17). Then she relates variant and norm to establish that both act
  inherently as shifters in Jakobson's sense of that term. Variation must
  be seen, therefore, in a quite different way of Labov. She
  characterizes, following Halliday, the two main kind of variation by
  reference to the users of language (dialectal variation) or the uses of
  language (diatypic variation). She describes the diatypic varieties in
  relation to realization as a dialectical relationship that relates:
  a) context of culture and context of situation and,
  b) language and text.

  Then, she analyses variation and consistency in Diatypic Varieties
  affirming that the general nature of contextual configuration is
  as structure, and the more specific aspects in relation to an
  occasion for talk as texture. She shows how the forms of discursive
  variation arise from its structural potential and from the genre
  semantic potential analyzing representative texts. After that, she
  characterizes dialectal variation in which speaker identity is relative
  stable. She clearly points up: "Dominant sociolinguistics has inherited
  its methodology and its concept variation from classical dialectology,
  and its linguistics from an a-social structuralism; and its approach to
  the social remains superficial" (37). So, she states: "Meaning is what
  makes language perform the many social acts speakers engage in: it
  was, therefore, logical to believe that variation in speakers' social
  condition would bear some relationship to their meaning-making
  practices" (37). She criticizes dominant sociolinguistics (i.e.
  because it does not account that 1) discursive variation includes
  dialectal variation and context are realizationally related to texts
  2) semantic styles are active in the perception of context so dialectal
  variation would be relevant. She then discusses semantic style and
  semantic orientation by analyzing clear examples. Finally, she affirms
  that what produces discursive variation is the principle of co-genetic
  evolution in society, because language and society each act as a
  resource for the other. She concludes: " It has seemed to me for
  some time now that it is not system or structure that are static: what
  static is our ways of looking at them, our mythologies about their
  nature (45).

  In "Predication, Propagation and Mediation: SFL, CDA, and the
  Inculcation of Evaluative-Meaning System", Philip Graham argues that
  an understanding of mediation, i.e., the movement of meaning across
  space and time, is essential for an analysis of meaning. Mediation
  has to be seen from a technological perspective where media, genres
  and modes are fundamental and interrelated aspects of meaning-
  making process. Two different texts are analyzed from this
  perspective. One is an annual address to the United States Radio and
  Television Correspondents Association annual dinner by former US
  President Bill Clinton, and the other is a lecture to the University
  President's Forum by Mark Katz, the person who wrote Clinton's text.
  The analysis is clearly postulated and Mr. Graham clearly states that
  the main relationship between SFL and CDA are the "contextual" part
  of the former, and the "critical" part of the latter. Therefore, his
  conclusions are orientated in this direction where he thinks that SFL
  and CDA can help to understand new communication technologies
  and new institutional relations.

  In "Mapping Distinction: Towards a Systemic Representation of Power
  in Language", Tom Bartlett attempts to refine the methodology of
  CDA. He states that CDA has been criticized from different points of
  view (conversation analysis, applied linguistics). He also points that
  CDA is aware of the tension between micro- and macro-analysis. His
  paper "presents a methodology that attempts to quantify contextually
  sensitive samples of language as instantiations of social stance" (69).
  He proposes a qualitative-quantitative method to analyse the lexemic
  meaning potentials of the modals within speech acts. Following Whorf
  (1956: 158) and Hasan (1996: 148-149) "fashions of speaking ", he
  proposes to analyze the relationship between language and power
  through ways of speaking, i.e. "a means of depicting social difference,
  of mapping distinction" (72). His data is taken from his own fieldwork
  in Guyana, South America, where he studied communication
  strategies between the Iwokrama International Rainforest
  Conservation Programme, a multinational non-governmental
  organization (NGO), and local Amerindian communities. He
  interviewed leader members of each group and then presents an
  analysis of modality as a linguistic means of constructing social
  relations, and transitivity as a means of construing social reality.
  results of his qualitative-quantitative analysis are given in order to
  prove that working with networks of ways of speaking proved to be a
  good method that clearly shows the options speakers make.

  In "Role Prescriptions, Social Practices, and Social Structures: A
  Sociological Basis for the Contextualization of Analysis in SFL and
  CDA", José Luis Meurer discusses Giddens "structuration theory" as a
  broad sociological foundation to account for context in analysis of
  and their impact, and to complement framework provided by SFL and
  CDA. He proposes the term intercontextuality, in an analogy to
  intertextuality and interdiscursivity, "to refer to the various
  that intermesh to influence or determine, and be influenced or
  determined by text, discourse and other social practices" (86). Then
  he describes the main dimensions of structuration theory: role
  prescription, social practices and social structures. He analyses
  selected aspects of the text "On Bombing" by Noam Chomsky, that
  widely circulated on Internet on September 11th 2001, to explain how
  SFL, CDA and Structuration Theory have to interconnect in order to
  show in text analysis how context of culture effectively works in
  relation to language. He clearly concludes stating: "We cannot just say
  that language use is also related to the context of culture, which
  realizes genre and leave it at that. Thus I believe the framework I
  introduced above may be the initial route between the broader context
  and language use (96).

  "Critical Discourse Analysis in Researching Language in the New
  Capitalism: Overdetermination, Transdisciplinary and Textual
  Analysis" by Norman Fairclough opens the second part "Applied
  Section: National Identity". He starts by describing New Capitalism as
  a new way that Capitalism has to overcome crisis by transforming itself
  periodically. He states that the common idea of new capitalism implies
  that it is "discourse driven"; therefore language has a more important
  role in contemporary socioeconomic changes that it has had in the
  past. He gives as a punctual example of this transformations of the
  new capitalism a single text, the "Foreword" to the UK Department of
  Trade and Industry White Paper, "Our Competitve Future: Building the
  Knowledge Economy" by the Prime Minister Tony Blair. He presents a
  textual analysis taking SFL as the linguistic frame, but he also points
  that a critical perspective has to be adopted. He clearly points the
  difference between text as a linguistic unit and discourse as "a
  representation of some area of social life from a particular
  perspective" (111). He understands that in CDA interdiscursive
  analysis of text is the way to integrating social and linguistic
  because social practices are networked. So, he distinguishes
  language as an element of the social at all levels where languages
  can be regarded as among the abstract social structures, orders of
  discourse as social practices and texts as social events. Orders of
  discourse are a key concept: they are the social organization and
  control of linguistic variation and their elements (discourses, genres,
  styles). Language, he affirms following Althusser and Balibar (1979),
  is "overdetermined" by other social elements. So, he suggests to
  working transdisciplinary, i.e. doing text analysis and discourse
  analysis. Trandisciplinarity, then, is one method of working in and
  interdisciplinary way which he clearly characterizes: "It is not
simple a
  matter of adding concepts and categories from other disciplines and
  theories, but working on and elaborating one´s own theoretical and
  methodological resources so as to be able to address insights or
  problems captured in other theories or disciplines from the perspective
  of one's particular concern(...). Disciplinary specialization is
  simultaneously necessary and insufficient, desirable and dangerous"
  (116). His conclusions lead to see that SFL is a necessary condition
  but not a sufficient one to work from a CDA perspective. He
  understands that "the interdiscursive analysis of text is a crucial
  mediating link between linguistic analysis and social analysis, a link
  which is needed (...) if one is to succeed in incorporating textual
  analysis more substantively within social research" (119). The
  incorporation of this kind of analysis "places us in a stronger
  to make a substantive contribution to social research" (120).

  In "Prolegomena to a Discursive Model of Malaysian National Identity",
  Faiz Sathi Abdullah, uses SFL and CDA as tools to analyze the
  concepts of "Malaysian", "nation" (bangsa) and "we" (kita) and
  establishes how they are represented in different discourses. He
  departs from the concepts of "National Identity" as defined by Wodak
  et al. 1999) in order to discern what may be defined as "nationalist"
  and "national ideologies". He proposes a discursive model of
  Malaysian national identity and analyses several texts as examples.
  He concludes saying that "to explore the experiential and relational
  values inherent in the language of Malaysian national/nationalist
  identity construction, a more principled analysis of a representative
  sample of discourse is imperative, taking into account other semiotic
  modalities for a comprehensive, critical assessment of discursive
  strategies, their linguistic realization, and underlying ideologies"

  In "Celebrating Singapore's Development: An Analysis of the
  Millenium Stamps", Chng Huang Hoon analyses critically the
  Millennium Collection, a set of 14, minted stamps that mark 'the
  milestones in Singapore's development. In his analysis, he focuses on
  aspects in the construction of the Singaporean history and identity
  from the perspective of CDA. He also analyses the texts from the
  perspective of SFL focusing in the nature of agency and clause
  structure. He presents a detailed analysis of the texts to conclude
  that "Clearly, the official construction is unambiguous about what one
  should be proud of (...) the milestones are all, unsurprisingly
  People's Action Party milestones" (153). The problem, he clearly
  poses, is why the individual does not feel identified with it. He said
  this will be the subject of future papers.

  In "The Representation of Social Actors in the Globe and Mail during
  the break-up of the Former Yugoslavia", Dragana Polovina-Vukovic
  shows how a segment of Canadian press portrays the different ethnic
  groups involved in the wars during the disintegration of Yugoslavia
  (1991 to 1999). She takes the articles appeared on the front page of
  the Globe and Mail as her corpora to analyze how the paper identified
  the different ethnic groups either as "villains" or "victims". She
makes a
  detailed description of the corpus and the selected data, a brief
  history of Yugoslavia and how they are represented in the press. She
  analyses mainly the different processes used by the newspaper in
  order to conclude that "the Globe and Mail discursively reproduced
  the ideological framework that echoed ethnic inequality among various
  groups from the Balkans. While Serb atrocities were widely
  condemned, Serb suffering was minimized, or worse, overlooked. In
  this simplified story about the struggle between good and evil, NATO
  played the role of rescuer of innocent victims" (167). Her final
  paragraph is clear enough to see the scope of the matter discussed.
  She says: "What I have presented here is an academic discussion of
  media discourse had, in fact, consequences on the lives of people in
  the Balkans. Some of them received no humanitarian aid, some of
  them were bombed, some of them were not granted visas in different
  developed countries, and some of them are still waiting to return to
  their homes. Uncovering inequality in discourse has implications not
  only for media coverage, but also can lead to changes in non-
  discursive practices, which affects the lives of those represented"

  The third part of the book is called "Applied Section: Institutional
  Identity". It is opened by Frances Christie's paper "Authority and Its
  role in the Pedagogic Relationship of Schooling". She argues the need
  to develop critical perspectives on a great deal of educational theory
  to articulate useful models of knowledge and the curriculum and,
  therefore, of the nature of the authority exercised by the teacher in
  the pedagogic relationship of schooling. She uses the model of
  classroom discourse analysis by Christie (2002) which uses SFL. Also,
  following Bernstein (1990, 2000), she argues that the presence of a
  teacher who is in authority is needed. In order to illustrate her
  she analyses an example of early childhood literacy learning. Her
  conclusions state that "using a method of classroom discourse
  analysis, I have sought to demonstrate how successful teacher
  authority is essential to the process of teaching and learning in
  school" (197).

  In "The Principal's Book: Discursively Reconstructing a Culture of
  Teaching and Learning in an Umlazi High School, Ralph Adendorff
  provides a close study of situated discursive practice in an
  site, Thukeleni High School (a pseudonym) in South Africa. It is
  concerned with the effect of discourse (The Book) on identities (those
  of teachers and principal) in the context of post-apartheid South
  Africa. His data is drawn from 99 entries in four copies of The Book
  and interviews with the principal and members of his staff. His
  analytical framework is the Appraisal Framework within SFL. This
  approach is concerned with exploring the discursive semantics and
  lexis grammar of the language of evaluation, attitude and
  intersubjective positioning. It accounts of how language construes the
  interpersonal relationship of solidarity and power. He works, then, in
  the discourse of authority analyzing its formal and textual features,
  and also the discourse of exhortation. His conclusion clearly states:
  this particular "community of practice" (...). The Book defines
  simultaneously one struggle over membership identities (of the
  principal and his staff) and another over preferred practices, in ways
  that both reflect the troubled situation of the school, and perhaps
  contribute towards the maintenance of some of its troubled aspects"

  In "Representations of Rape in the Discourse of Legal Decisions",
  Débora de Carvalho Figueiredo analyses the vocabulary used in
  British reported appeal decisions on rape cases to depict sexual
  assaults. She investigates this issue from the perspective of CDA and
  Gender and Feminist Legal Studies. She analyses the legal view of
  rape where she defines, from the legal point of view, what it is
  as the real or prototypical rape. Then, she analyses cases of non-
  typical rapes such as marital rape and ex-partner rape. Her
  conclusions point that there is a disparity between the way sexual
  violence is treated in theory and in practice. "Judicial discourse
  use of several prototypes to help categorize rape cases and their
  participants, such as 'real rape', the 'true victim', and the 'typical
  rapist'. The prototypical cases are seen as serious and as deserving
  severe punishment. Events and participants that shade away from
  these central, core examples, e.g. marital rape, date rape, and rape of
  sexually experienced woman, are viewed with disbelief and suspicion
  and, frequently, end up in acquittals or short sentences" (227).

  In "Bureaucratic Discourse: Writing in the "Confort Zone", Claire
  Harrison and Lynne Young show "how one could go
  about "unpacking" bureaucratese through the Phasal Analysis of a e-
  mail office memo issued within Health Canada (HC), a department of
  the Government of Canada" (232). They give the context of
  Canada's public service in order to make a Phasal Analysis of the
  memos. This kind of analysis proposes of discovering the way in which
  speakers and writers structure and organize discourse. They propose
  to analyse the memo in four phases (I'm on the level; Show and Tell;
  Concealment and Arm's-length Commands) to conclude that: "The
  memo failed because of this: it did not make the employees feel heard,
  valued or respected. Bureaucratic discourse, long considered to be
  useful in maintaining institutional cohesion may, in fact, contribute
  the very opposite of its desired effect by creating staff resentment
  resistance to the hierarchical status quo reinforced by such discourse.
  It does not contribute towards the kind of systemic changes required
  to create a work environment that will make the government "an
  employer of choice" and attract the type of high-quality, skilled
  workers required in today's and tomorrow's workplace."(242).

  In "Charismatic Business Leader Rhetoric: From Transaction to
  Transformation", Arlene Harvey examines the discourse interaction
  between two leadership styles: Transactional (that encompasses
  managerial and pragmatics processes) and Transformational
  leadership (that is associated with effectiveness). A short dialogue
  between a well-known transformational leader, Steve Jobs of Apple
  Computer and his employees is analyzed from SFL focusing on
  ideational patterning to show how he uses grammatical metaphors
  and negative material processes. A complementary analysis,
  interpersonally oriented, uses Appraisal Theory to show how the
  leader tries to inspire his employees to perform beyond expectations.

  In "Ideological Resources in Biotechnology Press Releases: Patterns
  of Theme/Rheme and "Given/New", Ingrid Lassen centers on two
  biotechnology press releases (that represent conflicting interests)
  the primary purpose of exploring one stylistic strategy that is
  for naturalizing ideologies. She combines Fairclough's three
  dimensional CDA model (social practice, discourse practice and text)
  with SFL framework of Theme/Rheme and Given/New to present a
  detailed analysis of the data selected. She concludes by saying
  that "The differences in style and communicative purposes of the two
  press releases corroborates (...) that it might not be possible to
  categorize press releases as a uniform genre, but rather as a special
  mode or channel used for conveying news of interest to the general
  public" (273).

  In "We have the power -- Or do We: Pronouns of Power in an Union
  Context", Maurice Ward proposes to analyze the pronoun we in an
  union meeting text as an exponent of distance and solidarity between
  a group of workers in a factory in New Zealand and their
  democratically elected union officials. After making a very good
  analysis of the uses of we from a SFL framework, and showing how
  CDA can contribute to interpret the text chosen, he arrives to the
  following conclusion: "This paper avoids a simplistic conclusion that a
  clique of union officials is manipulating their membership for personal
  or political gain, and examines the systematic discoursal framing of a
  group fighting oppression by highlighting a chain of intertextuality
  intermodality. It shows how detailed instantial analysis of the
deictic we
  (...) can contribute to understanding systemic disempowerment and
  offer some small steps towards empowering workers within their
  union, affirming that linguists in concert with other activist do have
  power to contribute to change." (294)


  This volume shows clearly the necessity of making explicit connections
  between a strong socially orientated linguistic theory as SFL, and
  principles of the broad CDA, to give an accurate analysis of social
  changes through different discursive practices.

  The papers of this quite representative collection show the connection
  successfully. The Theoretical Section is very important to focus the
  central problems that CDA has to face when it deals with text analysis.
  The Applied Section (on national and institutional identities) shows
  how FSL is the adequate tool to carry on CDA.

  In the Introduction to the Second Edition of his "Introduction to
  Functional Grammar" (1984), M. A. K. Halliday strongly stated: "The
  current preoccupation is with discourse analysis, or "text
  and it is sometimes assumed that this can be carried on with grammar -
  - or even that it is somehow an alternative to grammar. But this is an
  illusion. A discourse analysis that is not based on grammar is not an
  analysis at all, but simply a running commentary on a text" (Halliday
  1994: xvi). This important collection of papers proves that not only
  there is "no illusion", but that CDA does not deserve to be merely
  a "running commentary on a text" as well.


  Althusser, Louis & Etienne Balibar (1970). Reading Capital. London,
  New Left Books.

  Bernstein, Basil (1990). Class, Codes and Control: Volume 4: The
  Structuring of Pedagogical Discourse. London: Routledge.

  Bernstein, Basil (2000) Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity.
  Theory, Research, Critique. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

  Christie, Frances. (2002). Classroom Discourse Analysis. A Functional
  Perspective. London: Continuum.

  Hasan, Ruqaiya (1996). Ways of Saying and Ways of Meaning.
  Selected Papers of Ruqaiya Hasan, ed. by C. Cloran, D. Butt and G.
  Williams. London, Casell.

  Whorf, Benjamin Lee (1956). Language, Though and Reality:
  Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, ed. by J.B. Caroll,
  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  Wodak, Ruth et al. (eds) (1999) The Discursive Construction of
  National Identity. Edimburgh: Edimburgh University Press.

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