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Workshop coordinator (with Martin Reisigl): New developments in discourse studies

Universität Salzburg

Abstract

Discourse studies has been the subject of considerable scholarly attention in the past decades. In recent years, the following developments have been noticeable within the field:

First, recent studies have shown a trend towards a greater variety in the objects of investigation and themes of discourse research, as well as in the geographical locations of both discourse analysts and their data. Not least the development of new media and communication technologies has led to a ‘semiotic turn’ in discourse studies, with a corresponding increase in interest in issues surrounding multimodality.

Second, the cognitive turn within the social sciences has also had an impact on discourse studies. Concepts from cognitive semantics (especially cognitive metaphor theory and frame semantics) and cognitive pragmatics, have all been taken up by discourse analysts.

Third, empirical investigations are increasingly being supported by the use of large language corpora, which are analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Fourth, although argumentation theory has been an important part of discourse studies since its inception, there are increasing efforts to apply concepts from argumentation theory systematically in discourse-analyses.

Finally, methods have increasingly become the subject of critical reflection within discourse studies. However, following a huge increase in the body of published work that situates itself within discourse studies, a number of recent studies have adopted discourse-analytical methods in a superficial and non-reflexive way. This tension points to the growing status of discourse studies as a discipline in its own right, or possibly as a victim of its own success.