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Title: Mystifying discourse : a critique of current assumptions and an alternative framework for analysis
Author: O'Halloran, Kieran
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2000
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The thesis is concerned with texts that mystify events being reported. It begins by focusing on Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), a currently prominent enterprise, one of whose concerns is with the isolation of text which mystifies the nature of events described. When CDA isolates mystifying text, it is usually with the perspective of a non-analytical reader, either explicitly or implicitly in mind. However, the notion of a non-analytical reader in CDA is undeveloped from a cognitive point of view. The general structure of the thesis is as follows. In the first section, I show how CDA's approach to highlighting textual mystification is inadvertently bound up with symbolic notions of mental representation in cognitive science. In the second section, I outline theories of mental representation in connectionism and cognitive linguistics which problematise the symbolic assumptions of CDA and thus what CDA locates as mystifying text. The thesis develops cumulatively towards an alternative framework for highlighting mystification, in the third section, which includes compatible elements from connectionism, cognitive linguistics and recent psycholinguistic research on inference generation. My framework predicts how certain text can lead to mystification for a non-analytical reader who has little vested interest in a text and is largely unfamiliar with its subject matter. I show how mystification for this nonanalytical reader is connected with inference generation but, in contrast to CDA, I provide a detailed processing profile for such a reader. Attitudes in CDA towards inference generation are often inconsistent and are in conflict with recent psycholinguistic research. My framework, rooted in empirical psycholinguistic study, enables a more plausible, comprehensive and thus consistent perspective on inference generation in reading and how this relates to mystification. Finally, my framework also highlights CDA's 'overinterpretation' in text exegesis done by proxy for non-analytical readers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available