Society and Discourse: How Social Contexts Influence Text and Talk

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Overview

Van Dijk presents a new theory of context that explains how text and talk are adapted to their social environment. He argues that instead of the usual direct relationship being established between society and discourse, this influence is indirect and depends on how language users themselves 'define' the communicative situation. The new concept Van Dijk introduces for such definitions is that of context models. These models control all language production and understanding and explain how discourse is made appropriate in each situation. They are the missing link between language and society so far ignored in pragmatics and sociolinguistics. In this interdisciplinary book, the new theory of context is developed from a linguistic and psychological perspective. The theory is applied to the domain of politics, including the debate about the war in Iraq, where political leaders' speeches serve as a case study for detailed contextual analysis.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521516907
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2009
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Teun A. van Dijk was Professor of Discourse Studies at the University of Amsterdam until 2004, and is at present Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. After earlier work on generative poetics, text grammar, and the psychology of text processing, his work since 1980 has taken a more critical perspective and deals with discursive racism, news in the press, ideology, knowledge and context. He is the author of several books in most of these areas, and edited The Handbook of Discourse Analysis (four volumes, 1985) the introductory book Discourse Studies (two volumes, 1997) as well as the reader The Study of Discourse (five volumes, 2007). He has founded six international journals - Poetics, Text (now Text & Talk), Discourse & Society, Discourse Studies, Discourse & Communication and the internet journal in Spanish Discurso & Sociedad (www.dissoc.org) - of which he still edits the latter four. His last monographs in English are Ideology (1998) and Racism and Discourse in Spain and Latin America (2005), and his last edited book (with Ruth Wodak) is Racism at the Top (2000). He is currently completing a new interdisciplinary study in two volumes on the theory of context, and planning a new book on discourse and knowledge. Van Dijk, who holds two honorary doctorates, has lectured widely in many countries, especially Latin America. With Adriana Bolivar he founded the AsociaciĆ³n Latino-Americana de Estudios del Discurso (ALED), in 1995. For a list of publications, recent articles, resources for discourse studies and other information, see www.discourses.org.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Context and social cognition; 3. Context and society; 4. Context and culture; 5. Context and politics: the Iraq debate in British parliament; 6. Conclusions.

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