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How to analyse collective identity in discourse: Textual and contextual parameters

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2012
JournalCritical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines
Journal number2
Volume5
Number of pages20
Pages19-38
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article presents an approach to analysing collective identity in discourse that distinguishes the linguistic and semiotic description of textual features from their socio-cognitive interpretation. Collective identities are theorised as conceptual structures comprising beliefs and knowledge, norms and values, attitudes and expectations as well as emotions, and as being reinforced and negotiated in discourse. A number of linguistic and semiotic features are suggested to ascertain what collective identities are constructed in texts and how. These include social actor representation, process types, evaluation, modality, metaphoric expressions and intertextuality. The findings from such an analysis are then linked to questions about genre and the participants and processes of discourse practice as well as to the social context and the ideologies by which it is dominated. The analytical procedure is exemplified with an excerpt from a retailer’s catalogue that is investigated for the discursive construction and socio-cognitive representation of gender and sexual identity.