Meanings and the media : studies in the discourse analysis of media texts
The thesis explores aspects of language in the modern media of communication, with particular reference to its role in the production and circulation of ideologies (Ideologies are understood in this context as systems of representation whose effect is to sustain relations of domination). Investigation is conducted by means of case studies on a variety of media texts ranging from print Journalism through to TV and radio. These case studies suggest that ideology in text may be analysed using various techniques from linguistics, including - for example - the analysis of vocabulary, and the analysis of grammatical systems such as transitivity. But the case studies also suggest that ideologies operate in the form of implicit background assumptions which may be made analytically explicit by drawing upon recent developments in linguistic pragmatics. In addition to engaging with issues of language and ideology in the study of media texts, the case studies are also concerned with the ways in which such texts shape up to their audiences, particularly through the adoption of modes of direct address. Direct address is. considered to be an important indicator of genres in media discourse; and the thesis includes a detailed study of a one particular genre from popular day-time radio. The research is thus seen as occupying a middle ground between linguistics and media studies. It begins with media discourse as projecting dominant forms of common sense but it concludes with issues concerning the relation of these discourses to their putative audiences.