[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Friesen Article: question on kinds of talk analysis

Kevin, thank you, these all look like great leads. Let me ask you what is probably not an easy question: if you had to draw a general map or picture of the different approaches to discourse inquiry, how would you explain their different directions and methodologies?

- Steve

On May 19, 2009, at 8:30 AM, O'Connor, Kevin wrote:

I'd agree with the suggestions below, and can add a few more that address
comparisons of different approaches.

Debra Schiffrin’s Approaches to Discourse (1994) compares several different approaches to the analysis of discourse. It’s older, but is still a good

Jaworski and Coupland's The Discourse Reader (2nd ed 2006) is an excellent collection of abridged readings (maybe sometimes maybe too abridged to do justice, but useful nonetheless) from a range of perspectives. There’s good
editorial material that helps to see the big picture.

There’s a debate in Discourse & Society between authors representing
conversation analytic and a type of critical discourse analytic approaches coming from the Loughborough tradition of DA. One of the issues in 1999 has
several articles – you could trace the earlier articles from this one.

Jan Blommaert’s book Discourse (2005) has a nice discussion of CDA and CA, and goes on to build on the strengths of these approaches by adding the
perspective of contemporary north american linguistic anthropology.
Duranti’s Linguistic Anthropology and Hanks’ Language and Communicative Practices are two others, a bit older, that bring together discussions of
similar perspectives.


On 5/19/09 11:01 AM, "Adam Lefstein" <alefstein@gmail.com> wrote:

Stef Slembrouk has an excellent web page on the differences between
various approaches to discourse analysis and cognate terms (including
CA) here: http://bank.rug.ac.be/da/da.htm
Hope this helps,

2009/5/19 Au, Wayne <wau@exchange.fullerton.edu>:
I would highly recommend getting into James Paul Gee's work. He's all about video games and learning right now, but his earlier stuff about Discourse and
discourse analysis is brilliant. My favorite book of his is "Social
Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourses" (but there is a newer
2007 edition of the original 1996 one) and he also has a really good
Discourse analysis book: "An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method" (2005). Jim is a really good academic writer - one of my favorites,
and he really gets language.

I've taken two courses with him, and from what I've gleaned, I would say that conversation analysis generally falls under the larger umbrella of discourse analysis. In conversation analysis people look at how actors in a given conversation position themselves (vis-à-vis language) relative to the other actors in the conversation and relative to their intended goals. In this way conversation analysis has the potential to speak to issues of culture and power very concretely at the level of individual and/or group interaction. Discourse, in Gee's terms at least, is a broader concept than "conversation" in that Discourse (with a capitol "D" specifically) speaks to how one communicates their identity through language as well as through other means
(posture, clothing, style, etc.). So Discourse analysis also has the
potential to look at language and power, but it does so within a broader
framework and tries to take in larger issues of identity.

But this is all coming out of "New Literacy Studies" (which, frankly, isn't that "new" anymore), and I'm sure there are many more traditional and/or historical takes on discourse analysis and conversation analysis that would
disagree with what I've offered here.

For what its worth...


On 5/19/09 4:59 AM, "Steve Gabosch" <stevegabosch@me.com> wrote:

This passage got my attention in Norm Friesen's article on discursive

"the computer can be understood to have the same status as other
psychological phenomena in discursive analysis ..."  (page 133)

Speaking of discursive analysis, I need some education about the
differences and similarities between conversation analysis, discourse
analysis, discursive analysis, and perhaps other kinds of talk
analysis that are out there.  Any suggestions?

- Steve

On May 11, 2009, at 11:03 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

Mike, I think you have very well, but this is a tough problem. There
are some people on this list who are marvellously transdisciplinary
(no names lest I omit someone) but it is hard to see how to get
something really going in this direction, beyond heroic islands and
a few brilliant scholars.

Something which has increasingly been grabbing my attention is the
idea of an *emancipatory science*, the possibility of getting a
discussion going amongst people in absolutely any discipline about
how to break from the dominant positivist approaches around this
principle. There has been a longstanding desire to do this, but
efforts have been limited I think to certain currents of social
theory, or more or less commitment to ethical code.

1. The 80 years discussion in the CHAT tradition around "unit of
analysis," seems to be recognised in no other current of science. I
think this idea needs to be better understood and used in criticism.

2. The interest in Idiographic as opposted to Nomothetic science
which you, Mike, have introduced as something which Luria was
committed to.

3. Related to (2) the kind of knowledge accumulated by self-help
groups as opposed to "specialists" and "generalists."

4. "Emancipatory science" as a banner to organise a "crusade"
against Behaviorism, Structuralism, and other currents of science
which deny agency.

5. Habermas's idea of "emancipatory interest"?

Perhaps a kind of social movement within science could open the way
for transdisciplinary approaches? What do you think?


Mike Cole wrote:
My experience with "interdisciplinary" has been so different than
David, it might even be enough of the opposite to motivate my
search for
some other formulation, like transdisciplinary without evoking
fears of a
coercive Foulcaudian master discipline. Seems like any route we
search end
leads to oxen and their
droppings. :-(
I started out an experimental psychologist for whom rats and
sophomores were
simply different kinds of the same sorts of "subjects" who one
studied for
convenience sake, depending upon particulars of how to get at the
underlying "psychological processes."  Istumled into and out of
barely understanding what I was doing. Was sent to Liberia with
about the
same depth of understanding. Spent decades trying to sort it out
and piece
it together and ended up helping start a "communication
department" (no s at
the end).
Communication HAD to claim to be discipline to become a department
with a
grad program or had to disappear and that would have stranded me
back in a
psychology who thought that culture was only the "glove that goes
on the
hand." (Lovely metaphor from Gessell). But i could no longer
swallow that
and had come to believe that cultural mediation is central to human
behavior.  I was FORCED to create a DISCIPLINARY
department of Communication or flee into somewhere else and it
would be no
better.  And Communication, I fully believed was not a discipline
and was
not about to become one I could sign on to. It had to be created.
So what happens? We get hailed as this neat interdisciplinary
And what does that mean? Incommensurate data, no way to say that
said something actually wrong, not just some other
discipline's way of looking at things. What things? Ohn, most any
would do,
so long as it could be related,
post hoc mostly, to communication.
When people do anthro and psych as interdisciplinry we get a new
way to do
positivist cause effect science for subjects and objects who have the misfortune of contributing to their own histories, thus screwing the
interdisciplinary logic of their combination.
Or we get a department of communication which aclaims its
interdisciplinarity. Cites Bakhtin, Foucault,
Bourdieu, inter alia, and the oxen of anyone with a yearning to
gore or be
Tis a puzzle.
My students are struggling with these issues in one class, and
trying to
come to grips with their lives as
middle class college students who spend two afternoons a week with
kids who
havnt enough to eat, parents only partly there or in prison or on
welfare to
work, or......  All those paradoxes to and moral conundrums to
work out.
And hoping that its true there is nothing so practical as a good
theory, so
they actually start searching for and evaluating candidates for such
And all we have jointly is this thin and tangled medium.
So it goes.
Ps-- If you could help me out with the technology quesion I would
On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 4:05 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com
 Since CHAT is an open house, I'm going to offer an extended
tale for discursive psychology from my own bailliwick, applied
H.G. Widdowson, who practically founded our field, pointed out
that there is
a basic contradiction in the claim that applied linguistics (or
science or chat) is "interdisciplinary".

The contradiction is this: on the one hand, we claim to be a
discipilne in
our own right, with our own mediating relations between theory on
the one
hand and praxis on the other. On the other hand, we claim to exist
"interdisciplinarily", in the interstices between disciplines, by
virtue of
THEIR mediating relations between theory on the one hand and a
praxis which
is actually alien to our own.

I think matters are not helped when we replace the word
with "transdisciplinary". That involves a claim to some kind of
metadiscipline; terribly good for our sense of self-importance, but
disastrous for our relationship with our own praxis. In applied
this inflation of the discipline from a technological bull frog to
interdisciplinary ox meant that we ended up replacing applied
(that is, the solution of real problems in the real world where
language, if
not linguistics, is a real and central concern) with something
that looked a
little more like linguistics applied (that is, now that we've got
this keen
body of theory let's figure out what it's good for).

At conferences it became very easy to tell the dwindling groups
from the exploding groups of oxen. Bullfrogs were always reading,
and oxen
were always writing. Bullfrogs tended to hang out with teachers
and even
students, while oxen travelled in herds, mooing to each other in
incomprehensible postmodern dialects.

Concretely, it was even easier. The bullfrogs were STILL
interested in
language teaching, even though a lot of our student base was taken
over by
something called TESOL and enrollments were plunging. The oxen
interested in a kind of literary critical discourse applied to the
language of (notably prestigious) fields like medicine and law and
advertising. After all, if texts are texts and discourses are
(and maybe texts are discourses too) then there is no reason we
can't apply
the lit crit techniques of Kristeva and Barthes and why not
Bakhtin to the
discourses overheard in surgeries, courtrooms, and the texts in

It was sexy, but ultimately sterile as far as practical
discoveries of new
modes of problem solving went; a lot of the systemic functional
(and also the discursive psychological analyses) pretty much
discovered what
we already knew was there (e.g. that South African newspapers under
apartheid tended to cover events in the townships from the white
point of
view rather than the black one) and it even ignored stuff that we
know was there (e.g. that the same newspapers had some clear
that white jounalists were getting fed up with the crap they were

There were also groups of oxen which went into computers and corpus
linguistics. But here the "linguistics applied" problem was even
because computer corpora were full of native speakers and finished linguistic products, and this tended to neglect exactly the kinds of problems we should have been attending (the kinds of problems that
Kozulin's article in the latest MCA tackles). Having cut their
ties with
praxis by becoming "interdisciplinary" the oxen invariably tended
what was easy to study, uninteresting, and irrelevant.

That's why I worry a little about little words like "resource" as
to "tool". I know that "tool" has a distinctly early twentieth
sound; it belongs to a better time, when the future seemed somehow
malleable, if only we had the right implements. I know that
sounds a lot more twenty-first century; it sounds more suited to a
time when
things are scarce and precious and need to be valued without being
used, and
it seems more important to remind ourselves of the "embodiment" of
communication than its instrumentality, its sign and tool using
These are evil times, and it is hard to trust in the artifacts of
sociocultural progress; at times like these, as Volosinov says,
shake their heads and repeat that man is only an animal.

But the students I will teach in about half an hour will graduate
year, and then they will teach eight and nine year old children.
Some of
them, perhaps most of them, will live to see the twenty-second
century. So I
still think, rather stubbornly and sometimes even stupidly, that
we had it
right the first time; in the long run, the future must be
malleable if only
we have the right tools and if only we stick to the right
problems! After
all, that's how we got this far.

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On *Sun, 5/10/09, Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>* wrote:

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Friesen Article
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Cc: "David Middleton" <D.J.Middleton@lboro.ac.uk>
Date: Sunday, May 10, 2009, 6:27 PM


Thanks for getting us directly connected with this article.
I have a question, the answer to which is presupposed in your term,
technology. One of the aspects of the study of communication as I
from a department so named is that technology is a term that
applies almost
exclusively to electronically powered digital devices.... by my
who also treat "media" as a singular noun and a "cause" in the
sense of "the media are responsible for the degeneration of our

Put aside my parochial question about media and focus on
technology. What
a technology? I trace my own, vague understandings to the idea
of technea in ancient Greece where teoria referred to the audience
at a
dramatic performance. I am guessing you have thought about this a
Can you help me out here? I think it is relevant to the article
because of
the everyday interpretation of "educational technology" .

I hope that someone knows how to reach Norm Friesen so that he can
join the
discussion. I think that discursive psychology is an important
enterprise and would like to understand its relationship to the
issues we
are used to discussing.

On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 4:37 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com

Yes, xmca is a bit of a three ring circus: when there isn't a
tiger loose
on the other thread, then he's either backstage--or prowling the
I've got some non-rhetorical and non-display questions about the

a) My first question has to do with "interdisciplinarity", a recent
that snapped befoer it could get as far as "Discursive Psychology
Educational Technology". In applied linguistics we used to think
we were
inter-trans-disciplinary: we thought we were language teaching
plus any
discipline you need to make language teaching more fun, effective, affordable, useful. Then we discovered that we were really just a
TECHNOLOGY. It's not the same thing. For one thing, being a
technology is
more fun, effective, affordable, and useful. For another, it's
not nearly
prestigious, which means good riddance to an enormous amount of
baggage. Isn't "cognitive science" (and even CHAT) just in the
process of
discovering the same thing?

b) My second question concerns p. 133, where Friesen has this to
"Discursive psychology does not understand (?) discourse or
terms of communication in its conventional technologized (??)
meaning as
transmission of information; instead, it understands discourse
above all
(as?) a kind of activity--a type of action or work through which
field of interaction itself is constituted". I can think of a lot
of ways
which you could transmit information without "action" or "work"
or even a
social field of interaction (involuntary signals). I can't think
of a
way in which you could constitute a social field of interaction
transmitting information. So am I to conclude that discursive
a narrower notion than the convental technologized one?

c) My third question has to do with a sentence later in teh same
that goes like this: (...Mind, computer, and other terms and
woudl emerge from this type of analysis not so much as causes or
tools to
produce certain results but as rhetorical and interactional
for discursive, social action." To me this suggests that they are
but only potential tools. Given that I am a proud technologist
with no
pretensions to interdisciplinarity, why is that a step forward?
It looks
like a giant leap backwards from where I am standing.

d) Finally, I wonder about the whole exercise of analyzing a
tidbit of
interaction between a human and a chatbot for evidence that the
human is
responding to the chatbot as we humans are supposed to, that is,
as a
or less successful performance of a perverse kind of role play. The
particular role play that chatbots are supposed to enact is NOT,
a machine pretending to be human, but rather a human pretending
to treat
machine as a human. Isn't the missing precondition for real (as
potential) social action the ASSUMPTION that the other person has a
intention to interact?

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

xmca mailing list


xmca mailing list


xmca mailing list

Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
From Erythrós Press and Media

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

Wayne Au
Assistant Professor
Department of Secondary Education
CSU Fullerton
P.O. Box 6868
Fullerton, CA 92834
Office: 714.278.5481
Editorial Board Member: Rethinking Schools (www.rethinkingschools.org )

"Education must keep broad ideals before it, and never forget that it is
dealing with Souls and not with Dollars." - W.E.B. DuBois
xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list