A prevailing assumption of more logocentric discourse analysis relates to the transposability of linguistic categories, tools and concepts: that methods applied in the analysis of one text type can be used, unproblematically, to study any other text type. This position has resulted in a swathe of research which implicitly (and on occasion explicitly) suggests that newspaper texts can be studied in the same way as musical lyrics; that interviews can be studied in the same way that we approach a telephone conversation; that ‘media discourse’ is simply ‘discourse that happens to be in the media’. We would argue that what is lost, or ignored, in such accounts is a critical awareness of genre. Each genre is the product of a constellation of discursive practices that make it, to the greater extent, distinctive. Such discourse practices, themselves the result of complex and contingent histories of discourse production and consumption which could and can be different, index a nexus
of textual, ideational and interpersonal potentiality that require greater analytic attention.
The articles collected in our fourth Virtual Special Issue – Critical Approaches to Genre and Hybridity – aim to tackle exactly these issues. That is, they all aim to integrate their analysis of the ideational/representative dimensions of discourse with the complex potentialities of genre and style, and say something about the affordances of the genre, and medium, under analysis. Whilst, unfortunately, this is currently a peripheral approach in critical discourse studies, the important work compiled here – of Machin and Suleiman’s analysis of Arab and American computer war games, van Zoonen et al’s examination of video activism on YouTube, and Badran’s analysis of hybridity in Hizbollah’s political discourse – points to a number of exciting directions for future research.
Department of Social Sciences
Leics, UK, LE11 3TU