Thursday, November 14, 2019

Discourse Analysis Essay -- Communication, Identity Work

Analysing discourse is often used by social scientist as an interpretive study of real-life situations, because of its ecological validity (Byford, 2009, p. 198). An article, (which will be referred to as text) taken from the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council website (cited in Open University, 2010, pp. 25-26), will be analysed in this essay. Firstly, by establishing some of the discourses and then summarising areas of ‘identity work’, which is ‘the performance of identity in (the details of) talk, including how the speaker positions her or himself’ (Taylor, 2009, p. 186). ‘Discourse is a set of ideas that are shared by (some) members of society, creates identity positions and gives a certain view of how the society functions and practices are positively or negatively valued’ (Taylor, 2009, p. 185). The views and identity positions that people hold can be formed in many ways and urbanisation is a good example of how values are connected between people and place in the countryside and in cities. Steve Hinchliffe (2009, p. 224) explains how people are seduced by an ‘imaginary’ of rural life and that people’s opinions of city life are often disconnected. They can associate higher crime, pollution and violence, in cities, opposed to, rolling hills, clean air and a relaxed way of living in the countryside. Yet, during urbanisation, in the 1830s, many moved from rural areas, to take up residence in cities. And although the attraction to move to urban areas was complex, Hinchliffe (2009, p. 210) points out, cities seemed attr active, they gave opportunities to earn a living wage and increase prosperity even if it was mainly through manufacturing. The text from Blaenau Gwent plays on the myth (discourse) of the idyllic countryside,... ... to these facts. Firstly, it allows visitors to buy into the rural life as it states there are ‘a number of great places to visit, stay and enjoy’ giving the opportunity to act out a personal identity and gain pleasure from the area. Secondly, the constant use of adjectives throughout the text, helps to construct a positive image of the area ‘impression management’ as Goffman suggests. Overall, we can see how the text uses discourses and the photograph also confirms this, by showing a rural and scenic view of the area. Identities are complex and are made up of more than one thing at a given time, they are not mutually exclusive. The performance of identity in the text is aimed at those who have limited knowledge of Blaenau Gwent. It is a ‘snap shot’ trying to persuade and convince the reader, which aims to attract tourists rather than merely present the facts.

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