LINGUIST List 27.3249

Thu Aug 11 2016

Confs: Disc Analysis, Pragmatics, Psycholing, Socioling, Text/Corpus Ling/UK

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 09-Aug-2016
From: Elda Weizman <>
Subject: Constructing Ordinariness across Media Genres
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Constructing Ordinariness across Media Genres

Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Contact: Elda Weizman
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Meeting Description:

Session Conveners: Elda Weizman, Bar-Ilan University and Anita Fetzer, Augsburg University

In on doing “being ordinary” Sacks (1984) examines the “event’s ordinariness, its usualness” (1984: 414) and how “being ordinary” (ibid.) is done. Departing from the interactional-sociolinguistic premises that ‘being ordinary’ is (1) an interactional achievement and thus constructed, reconstructed and deconstructed in communication, and (2) that ordinariness is brought into the discourse and brought out in the discourse, this panel investigates the (re-/de-)-construction of ordinariness, that is ‘being ordinary’, in the context of media discourse, paying particular attention to its (re-/de-)-construction across media genres, and to its strategic use in order to achieve particular goals in media discourse by both professional and non-professional participants. Ordinariness may be a constitutive part of the media discourse, as is the case with reality shows, audience-participation TV programmes and participatory journalism online, but it may also be (re-/de-)-constructed locally to achieve particular perlocutionary effects, for instance when public figures such as politicians assign their private lives the status of an object of talk in the context of political discourse, for instance in Prime Minister’s Questions, political interviews and political speeches.

Media discourse has been described as public discourse, institutional discourse and professional discourse, which is generally produced in accordance with institutional constraints on the macro level, genre-specific constraints on the meso level and genre-specific contextual constraints and requirements on the micro level. Unlike face-to-face interaction, media discourse allows the uncoupling of space and time and thus communication with distant others, and this also holds for the (re-/de-)-construction of ordinariness, which is also a public endeavour and which is generally produced and interpreted in accordance with institutional and genre-specific constraints. The (re-/de-)-construction of ordinariness is also frequently followed up in media discourse and may even be assigned the status of an object of talk (Fetzer & al. 2015, Weizman & Fetzer 2015). The self- and other-positioning (Harré & Van Langenhove,1999) as ordinary is generally done by foregrounding ordinariness and at the same time backgrounding non-ordinariness anchored to professional or expert identities.

This panel examines the strategic construction, reconstruction and deconstruction of ordinariness across media genres done by professional participants (e.g., politicians, journalists, scientists, artists) and by ordinary people participating in media discourse (e.g., viewers, members of the audience, on-line commenters, bloggers etc.). It focuses on contexts in which (1) professional and non-professional participants position themselves as ordinary, (2) addressees and significant others are positioned as ordinary, in various genres of public talk. Discursive strategies to bring about ordinariness in media discourse may include, for instance, small stories, quotations, conversational style, irony, naming and addressing as well as references to the private-public interface.

The panel encourages the use of compositional methodology anchored to:

1) Sociopragmatics as regards context, sequentiality, participant format, communicative action, implicature
2) Corpus linguistics as regards quantification of data in order to identify possible communicative patterns across discourse domains and cultures
3) Discourse analysis as regards the definition of genre
4) Social psychology as regards face and face-work, and evasiveness.

Page Updated: 11-Aug-2016