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Speaker Series: Ruth Wodak, Lancaster University
Schedule information
Event Speaker Series: Ruth Wodak, Lancaster University
When Friday, March 2, 2012 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Where Poulton Hall 230
Event details
Details Analyzing Political Discourse – ‘Politics as Usual’

Ruth Wodak, Lancaster University

This paper will consider complex theoretical and methodological problems when attempting to link the analysis of structural constraints, organizational hierarchies and rules with ethnographic research on the every day lives of politicians. More specifically, I will draw on research conducted in the European Parliament in Strasbourg when interviewing MEPs (members of the European Parliament), accompanying/shadowing them throughout their entire days (and tape-recording all their conversations), and following the genesis of decision-making in parliamentary committees and in the plenary discussions (see Wodak 2011).

My own triangulatory discourse-historical approach is based on a concept of “context” which takes into account four levels, to be elaborated in the course of my paper (Reisigl & Wodak 2009). I will illustrate these levels of context while analyzing relevant sequences from the every day lives of MEPs which construct them as ‘small scale entrepreneuers’ (Wodak 2011). Furthermore, I am interested in the discursive strategies of (positive) self-presentation (and negative other-presentation) as well as in strategies of decision-making and legitimation/justification of activities and decisions, focusing primarily on the use of metaphors, the role of social actors, argumentative schemata, cohesion devices, and transitivity, amongst other linguistic, rhetorical and pragmatic indicators.

Reisigl, M. & Wodak, R. (2009) The discourse-historical approach. In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (Eds.) Methods of CDA London: Sage (2nd rev. edn).

Wodak, R. (2011) The Discourse of Politics in Action: Politics as Usual Basingstoke: Palgrave/MacMillan.

Ruth Wodak is Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University, UK, since 2004 while she has remained affiliated to the University of Vienna (as full professor of Applied Linguistics). Besides many other prizes, she was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996. 2008, she was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Örebro in Sweden in 2010. In 2011 she was awarded the Grand Decoration in Silver for Services for the Austrian Republic. She is Past-President of the Societas Linguistica Europea. Recent book publications include Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty, P. Jones, 2008), The Discursive Construction of History. Remembering the Wehrmacht’s War of Annihilation (with H. Heer, W. Manoschek, A. Pollak, 2008), The Politics of Exclusion (with M. Krzyzanowski, 2009), Gedenken im Gedankenjahr (with R. de Cillia, 2009); The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with B. Johnstone and P. Kerswill) and The discourse of politics in action: ‘Politics as Usual’ (Palgrave), 2nd revised edition (2011).

See for more information on on-going research projects and recent publications.
Access » This event is limited to Georgetown University students, faculty and staff.
Contact Jennifer Brusstar, Department of Linguistics,, 202.687.5956
Sponsors Department of Linguistics
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