Discourse primarily refers to a speech, a talk and a conversation literally , while the concept ‘ Discourse ’ articulates through visual and verbal images and texts i.e. film , photography ,television etc. , pose importance to look into intertextuality when interpreting it . Lynda Nead specialises the linguistic part of ‘ Discourse ’ , defining it as ‘ the form of language with its own rules and conventions as well as the institution within which the discourse is produced and circulated ’ . From her point of view , a particular discourse produced among different subject positions , for example patients, doctors and nurse in the medical discourse.
Michel Foucault , as a French philosopher studied the relation between power and knowledge in the field of cultural studies, further developed the concept . According to him , ‘ Discourse ’ is a kind of discipline , constructing the world by our understandings and descriptions toward it . The particular knowledge and group of statements establishing the way that a subject (e.g. places, scenes, objects , relations ) is interpreted as well as our corresponding behaviour on the foundation of that thinking . To illustrate, visuality can be considered as a discourse as it provided a perspective that something is visible in a certain way , while other things are being neglected – a particular viewpoint that people observe .
Additionally , It is not only about the statements of the outside world but also building identity of ourselves, as stated by Rose , “ our sense of our self is produced through the operation of discourse ”. For instance , the Chinese concept of filial piety are constructed by a handful of characteristics defined by the Chinese community , people learn those principles and hence regard themselves as ‘good son and daughter’ when they behave in the way that the community long for .
There is dominance of a particular discourse , its reasons are two-fold. Firstly, it located in socially powerful institutions . Secondly, those discourses depend on assumption and claimed absolute truth.
By studying the use of language through visual text and speech , discourse analysis I investigate the social meaning and the forms of knowledge . It aims at revealing socio-psychological characteristics of a person or community rather than text alone. Its major concern include discourse , discursive formation and their production in social modality , but not the practice of institutions in terms of power , regime of truth and technologies.
Rose suggested way of working on discourse analysis I step by step . The first step is try to remove all the premise and presumption toward the source material. Take a look of it in every detail with flesh eyes and immerse into it. Identifying the key themes and hence their effect of truth. Contradiction and complexity of the theme should be admitted and the invisible part should be taken same importance along with those visible . All in all, attention to details. Unlike content analysis, the method emphasis its qualitative side in exploring the construction of meaning instead of focusing on the repeated patterns.
Illustrate with Elliott’s discourse analysis on Starbucks , his work shows the procedure clearly and provide insight into how the meaning of drinking coffee transform into the concept of lifestyle and develop new social behaviour within the community . He look into the invisible part of the Starbucks advertising strategies , by telling the origins of beans but not the workers in the underdeveloped countries.
Rose, G.(2001). Visual methodologies: An introduction to researching with visual materials. London: Sage.
Elliott, C.(2001). “Consuming caffeine: The discourse of Starbucks and coffee” In: Consumption, Markets and Culture, 4(4), pp. 369-382.