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November 4, 2006

Decentering Conflictual Discourse (DUO)


Utilizing critical discourse analysis, this paper examines the discourse of transaction in headline stories in four different languages – Finnish, Swedish, Persian (Iran) and US English – regarding the 2005 Israeli pullout from Neve Dekalim in which Jewish settlers resisted relocation. A textual analysis yields themes (indexes and icons) that are intertextual.

Intertextuality, as conceptualized by Fairclough and Foucault, refers to the way that statements always reactualize other statements. Each newspaper account generates its centering effect (Threadgold) in both horizontal and vertical ways (Bahktin) along the dimensions of time, space, place, and motion. For instance, aggression is attributed to different actors and along opposing trajectories in the Persian text than among the three western versions – which also have some significant distinctions from each other. The stories reported in these four online newspapers thus work interdiscursively to replicate and perpetuate a global, monocentric discourse of perpetual conflict. According to Irvine, interdiscursivity is “a specific semiotic effect [that] must be created in practice” (2005, p. 72). Most interesting, the examination of these media accounts reproduced similar interlinguistic dynamics among the four researchers, whose national identities align with the languages and newspapers chosen.

Such social metonymy highlights the challenge of decentering dominant discourses: the same referents can be treated differently in various national and/or media discourses yet still work to generate an overarching monocentric discourse. We argue that simultaneous attention to the workings of ideology at all levels - including our microsocial interactions with each other - enables the recognition of polycentricity and the interruption of interdiscursively monocentric repetitions. Such analyses and the linguistic options they support can contribute to the decentering of present discursive hegemonies of conflict and occupation.

I'll (attempt ! to) present on behalf of Ehya, Jussi, and Karin, of Dexus Nexus 3.0 (August 2005), on Wednesday Nov 8 at 3 pm in the "transaction" thread of Dialogue Under Occupation: The Discourse of Enactment, Transaction, Reaction, and Resolution, hosted by Northeastern Illinois University.

Posted by Steph at November 4, 2006 8:48 AM


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