Discourse Studies
Humanities Faculty, Aalborg University

CDS News
Discourse Studies
Mailing list

Main | Dansk | English

Studies of discourse have roots in a range of theoretical traditions that investigate the relations between language, structure and agency. The notion of 'discourse' is the subject of heated debate. It has become one of the key critical terms in the vocabulary of the humanities and the social sciences, so it is not surprising that it is contentious. Discourse encompasses the use of spoken, written and signed language and multimodal/multimedia forms of communication, and is not restricted to 'non-fictional' (eg. stylistics) nor verbal (eg. gesture and visual) materials. Although early linguistic approaches judged the unit of discourse to be larger than the sentence, phenomena of interest can range from silence, to a single utterance (such as "ok"), to a novel, a set of newspaper articles or a conversation.

Approaches that are commonly included under the term 'discourse studies' (or have overlapping concerns) include critical discourse analysis, critical linguistics, text linguistics, conversation analysis, ethnomethodology, discursive psychology, stylistics, genre studies, mediated discourse analysis, discourse theory, sociolinguistics, rhetorical analysis, argumentation theory, polyphony theory... 

Key theorists include Mikhail Bakhtin, Michael Billig, Jan Blommaert, Judith Butler, Deborah Cameron, Camen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard, Oswald Ducrot, Derek Edwards, Norman Fairclough, Michel Foucault, James Paul Gee, Michael Halliday, Rick Iedema, Gunther Kress, Ernesto Laclau, Jay Lemke, Jim Martin, Michel Pecheux, Alastair Pennycook, Jonathan Potter, Harvey Sacks, Emanuel Schegloff, Ron Scollon, Shi-xu, Michael Silverstein, Stef Slembrouck, Michael Stubbs, John Swales, Terry Threadgold, Theo van Leeuven, Teun van Dijk, Margaret Wetherell and Ruth Wodak.

Current research on discourse can be found in several international journals, including Critical Discourse Studies, Current Issues in Language & Society, DAOL Discourse Analysis OnLine, Discourse, Discourse Processes, Discourse & Society, Discourse Studies, Journal of Language and Politics, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, Journal of Pragmatics, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Journal of Technical Writing & Communication, Language in Society, Pragmatics, Research on Language and Social Interaction, Semiotica, Social Semiotics, Text, and Visual Communication.

See the links page for specific centres and sites concerned with discourse studies.

Back to top

Web editor: [Paul McIlvenny]
Last edited: 19. February 2007