Adding a new introduction and two previously unpublished papers, Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis brings together van Leeuwen's methodological work on discourse analysis of the last 15 years. Discourse, van Leeuwen argues, is a resource for representation, a knowledge about some aspect of reality which can be drawn upon when that aspect of reality has to be represented, a framework for making sense of things. And they are plural. There can be different discourses, different ways of making sense of the same aspect of reality that serve different interests and will therefore be used in different social contexts.
However abstract some discourses are, discourses ultimately always represent doings, van Leeuwen argues. Doing is the foundation of knowing, and social practices are the foundation of discourses. Studying children's books, newspaper reports, brochures and other texts, as well as photographs and children's toys, van Leeuwen investigates what can happen when practices are transformed into discourses and provides analytical tools for reconstructing discourses from texts.
Throughout the book, van Leeuwen makes connections between sociological and linguistic or semiotic concepts and methods to ensure the social and critical relevance of his analytical categories. van Leeuwen's work has already been widely used by critical discourse analysts across the world. This volume will be a welcome guide for anyone looking for a form of discourse analysis that is both explicit and methodical, and critically incisive.
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Theo van Leeuwen has worked as a film and television producer and scriptwriter in Holland and Australia. He then studied linguistics and combined the methods of linguistic analysis with his knowledge of visual communication in developing his approach to social semiotics.
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