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A discourse might be a singular word, phrase or paragraph(s) which we use every day. Speakers/writers encode meanings into language and the receiver decodes them. There are no meaningless words. Discourse is an analysis of human power effects in society, in the meaning of macro and micro relationships. Discourse analysis is a reflection on the analysis of power. It is also an analysis of meaning within text or speech, which can be explained by knowledge of the world around us. Additionally, socio - psychological and historical factors have an impact of those written or spoken words. The speaker's meanings depend on an assumption of the knowledge shared by the speaker and the audience.
Secondly, the concept of discourse analysis was developed by French thinker, sociologist and historian: Michael Foucault. His theoretical views focus on different types of power networks which associate with knowledge. Foucaultian theory suggests that people express themselves within boundaries, without limiting creative practice from analysis. Foucault established the "orders of discourse" and "power and knowledge" concepts within the theory of power and ideology. Foucault takes capitalism as a base for his framework from which other systems can be developed. Therefore, behaviour and thought are not understood as systems with ideological concepts. Ideas have a relationship between institutions and objects. Knowledge fits within practices of institutions. Foucault emphasised attention to linguistic details. However, Fairclough stated that this is not necessary and used the lack of attention to linguistic detail as his point of critique against Foucault. Fairclough further developed Foucault's theory on discursive analysis. He made a three-dimensional framework for analysing discourse.
The first dimension is discourse-as-text (e.g. metaphor, cohesion, and text structure. These should be systematically analysed. The usage of passive verb forms in news can be an influencing factor in the agent of political events.) The second dimension relates to discourse-as-discursive-practice, something produced, and then ingested within society. Once the analysis of grammar, vocabulary, and cohesion and text structure is complete, it should then encompass speech acts, intertextuality and coherence. The last dimension is discourse-as-social-practice. This ideological effect involves a hegemonic process which occurs within discourse. It is important as hegemony is a tool related to power, used to achieve a goal for a precise group of people. This contradicts Foucault's view: "The articulation and rearticulation of orders of discourse" as Fairclough claims that this links with a hegemonic struggle. Fairclough constructed an approach to social change on the basis of his third dimension. The constant re-interpretation of discourse explains how a new order for discourse develops, with a resultant on-going conflict with normatively, leading to attempts at control, and struggles against establishment. He understood critical discourse analysis to be a flow of sequences: description progress to interpretation subsequently achieving explanation. I will be applying both theories as this suits my data in order to answer the research question, which is: How Cameron is building up an idea of a stronger/better country in his Party speech on the 8th of October 2009, in Manchester. I have used this research question because I will attempt to discover how the theory of power and knowledge is combined with critical discourse analysis, which will affect the audience. In this way I use a methodological framework of CDA by N. Fairclough and theoretical concepts of power and knowledge as developed by Foucault. Subsequently, coding of data, methodology and analysis would follow. As the speech is long and touching many separate discourses, I have chosen to focus exclusively on: family, community, government and country. These discourses are gradually built into an ideology of country. My analyses are categorised as: generic structure, intertextuality, strategies: referential, evaluative, legitimising.
Below is my interpretation. Methodology is co-operating with my analysis.
In terms of generic structure: The speaker wishes to interact with the audience in order to achieve his goal. He has to make a perfect contribution in order improve his chances of election, and maintain his standing within the party. Discursive genres differ between pre and situated genres.
Intertextuality: I am employing the second dimension of Fairclough, which is about discourse as a discursive practice. Intertextuality is not always clearly visible, for example, in line 9, he refers indirectly to Thatcher. He does not want listeners to think that her years are about to come back, as public opinion is divided about her. This contradicts the statement of a previous Tory leader 'There is no such thing as a society'. This demonstrates that he has changed his party views. He also outlines what Tories could have done differently were they in power. The speaker applies knowledge produced by George Osborne, line 5). He uses the pronoun "I" to construct his relationship with audience. He also refers to his wife and made a very brief statement of the death of his son. Here he uses twice a metaphor, "the world has stopped turning and the clocks have stopped ticking" which refers briefly to his deceased son, but the speech is focusing on trinity key words: family, community, country and those are strongly linked with each other.
"Above all, the importance of family. That fierce sense of loyalty you feel for each other. The unconditional love you give and receive, especially when things go wrong or when you get it wrong. That powerful sense you have when you hold your children and there's nothing, absolutely nothing - you wouldn't do to protect them" This combination of utterances here is interesting as is in the present tense. It is a pattern applying to emotions as every one wants this, and the speaker uses his knowledge to deliver an ideal for the audience. The attribute "loyalty" works in conjunction with the idea of a patriarchal family unit, as the speaker talks about traditional type of family. The last sentence of this section is very important for the discourse of analysis as it suggests the answer to the question set up by me. The speaker constructs his idea of better/stronger country by implying that every citizen has to take responsibility for their own action. This is one of the main points of his speech.
"This is my DNA: family, community, country. These are things I care about. They are what made me. They are what I'm in public service to protect, promote and defend. And I believe they are what we need in Britain today more than ever." The discourse better/stronger country is constructed through the speaker's chosen combination of lexical options such as the physical action verbs: "protect, promote, defend" which also relate with mental processes which describe the discourse: "care, need and believe". This is also a patriotic message.
Further analysis pays attention to the section No 10, titled "FAMILY". This theme is described by the discourse "responsibility". Please see paragraph 2 of this section. "Responsibility starts at home. That why we cannot be neutral on this "The speaker builds an idea of the family with the moral attribute "responsibility". At the same time this is a self discipline, which is exercised at an individual level, and later at a higher level. This is an example of the Foucaultian approach to power and knowledge. Through accepting responsibility an individual can build better community and finally, country. This is an argument with a combination of patterns which appeal to emotions in this section.
Another example of intertextuality within this speech is section number 4. The theme here is "big government". This part was inspired by R. Regan's speech, which referred to government as a problem. From lines 7 to the end the speaker shows his power as leader of the party and offers three possible choices as solutions. This is structurally incorrect as he should have said that we have three options from which we can make one choice - criticism of his grammar. In the last paragraph the speaker uses the pronoun "we" as unity with citizens, who will be co-operating in order to put right the problems of big government and achieve "stronger families, communities, country. All by rebuilding responsibility". Here is a clear relationship with an ordinary citizen.
The big government is seen as a social problem, as the society is broken; neoliberal discourse; every individual is responsible for their success or failure, in terms of (in) competence (Bourdieu, 1997). This is very clearly implied within speech.
He used discourse "government" in the last paragraph, where he says it is up to people to put his vision in place - an indirect warning. Elect me or you will be responsible for the mess we will be in.
Finally, in his conclusion (section 19) I immediately recognised a similarity with the speech of Martin Luther King: 'I had a dream'
Here he presents his vision of how the country can get stronger. It can only be achieved by applying certain indicators to life. Re-build responsibility from the roots, which is family, which builds a strong community, leading to a strong country. A very simple idea presented in a well structured speech.
My last section in terms of methodology is represented by different types of strategies:
Referential strategies: These are used by a speaker to represent participants in a precise context. This relies on building up, and then making a disparity between an in group and an out group. Here, the out group would have specific characteristics given by the in group. Those categories can be achieved by toponymms and ethnonyms. Subsequently, usage of pronouns is significant here as this gives an identity in terms of an in/out group dichotomy. The opposition party will be "their" 17x repeated within the speech "them" 17x while in group identifies with "we" 181x, "us" 16x and "I" 92x. Speaker chose to use those pronouns for a purpose. Using "we and us" is identifies himself with the in group, and has a relationship. By using "them and their" he refers to the out group, usually blaming them. This links with evaluative strategies which are demonstrating a positive representation of an in group and a negative representation of an out group. In this instance the speaker is representing his own group with a positive characteristic because there is a need to address a potential voter. He only can distinguish him/party by focusing on a negative description of an out group. The paragraph titled "big government" provides us with evaluative strategy. Finally, we can talk about legitimising strategies: The aim of using legitimising strategies is to provide the audience with the validity and credibility of the speaker's arguments with a natural conclusion arising from them.
Legitimising strategies are divided into: deontic and epistemic. The first claim needs to represent the source of information as a moral authority. (leader). Epistemic claims are supported by sources and statistics which the speaker believes that the audience will accept. The whole paragraph: Welfare and broken society contain legitimising strategies.
Within the 57minute speech themes relevant to this discourse analysis have been repeated: country 34x, family 19x, community 7x, big government 15x and responsibility 19x, responsibility 10x. The main purpose of it is to maintain the speaker's argument that the country can be better/stronger if he gets elected as the PM.
Within speech the speaker seeks to justify the demand that underlines the activity exchange, relations between family, community within society, which makes a country. He justifies the opposition by rationalization which presents a solution.
The ideology of power is applied in this speech by the fact that the speaker is in a democratic country, has freedom of speech, authority as Party leader and potential candidate for PM Those are drawn within networks on macro level, and again on a micro level, I interpret his authority as a husband and father in a traditional type of family value. The speech had a clear flow of the topics which were related between them. However, it was focused on certain discourses, which by the end produced the idea of the better/ stronger country. That's all of my analysis combined with methodology. Now, I am moving to validation of analysis:
The discourses in my data sample help to understand the coherence of the data by establishing significant discourse which led me to interpret his speech, in a way so I was able to show how he constructs the ideology of the better/stronger country. The focus here was centralised on themes such as family, community, country, by combining those with taking responsibility, which is a pattern from authorities from micro to macro levels.
My data sample offers my individual interpretation. This is a weakness of the method, as there is no guarantee that another person would have chosen the same discourse to analyse. Although, if someone would have chosen those discourses I could have missed important points. Again this is down to the stand point view of the researcher. I have been trying to be neutral in order to not bias my analysis.
In terms of the audience: The audience align themselves by sharing his views, by having a certain background, by common knowledge and experience. This speech was relevant to his colleagues as it was a Party Conference Speech, but also to potential voters and of course the opposition.
Omitted from the speech was any mention of the Lisbon Treaty, which avoided negative opinion from potential voters. He has not said anything on the DNA data base. I could also have analysed their appearance, or applied a speech act theory based on Austin or Searle. I could have applied principle of politeness or co-operative, or I could have chosen a different approach to the discourse analysis. However, I have not done so as this coursework has word limitation. There are variations of types. I have chosen Foucaultian and Fairclough three dimension representation of the discourse analysis, as I have believed that those two would be appropriate for my case.
Finally, applying critical thinking to the speech; the idea of the better/ stronger country was presented on the discourses as this is of current concern to many people. The speaker has had constructed a simply understood speech in order for every one to understand his ideal. It was in a way patriotic, but at the same time was not picking on discourses which would represent ethnic minorities in a bad light, as this could have an effect on the next election. He was proving that he is aware of recent issues within society by referring to ordinary people by name. He also referred to government statistics. Some social practices were stronger because were more significant for that type of speech and the time frame. He kept his argument closely to the internal matters of the country. This is what mostly concerns ordinary people here and now.