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Cultural Discourse Analysis: Pragmatics of Social Interaction

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Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society

Part of the book series: Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology ((PEPRPHPS,volume 4))

Abstract

This chapter addresses issues of pragmatics and culture by presenting a framework for the cultural analysis of discourse which has been explicated and used in previous literature (e.g., Berry 2009; Carbaugh 1988a, 1990, 2005; Carbaugh et al. 1997; Scollo 2011). Indebted to the ethnography of communication (Hymes, 1972), and interpretive anthropology (Geertz 1973), this particular analytic procedure is one implementation of the theory of communication codes (Carbaugh, 2005; Philipsen 1997; Philipsen et al. 2005). As such, it takes pragmatic communication to be not only its primary data but, moreover, its primary theoretical concern. The framework responds to specific research questions, addresses particular kinds of intellectual problems, includes five investigative modes, and uses a special set of concepts. In this chapter, each of the modes is discussed as analytically distinct, yet complementary to the others, including theoretical, descriptive, interpretive, comparative, and critical analyses. Special attention is given to the interpretive mode and to intercultural interactions as a site for the application and development of cultural discourse analysis.

An earlier version of this chapter was published in the Journal of Intercultural Communication 2007, 36, 167–182.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The acronym CuDA is used to identify cultural discourse analysis as distinct from critical discourse analysis (e.g., Fairclough and Wodak 1997) and from conversation analysis. It is distinct from the former as it insists on phases of descriptive, interpretive, and comparative analysis prior to critical assessments; and from the latter in its emphasis on interpretive and cross-cultural analyses.

  2. 2.

    The concept, function, here is used in the pragmatic tradition of John Dewey, capturing what is done in conjoint action; it is not being used in the functionalist sense of Talcott Parsons’ sociology.

  3. 3.

    This point introduces the cyclical quality of this research design, as well as the analyst’s critical reflection on the perspective taken to the inquiry. These points are discussed in much more detail elsewhere (Carbaugh and Hastings 1992).

  4. 4.

    Of course, there is the special case where participants themselves are critiquing the practices through which they communicate (see Carbaugh 1989/1990).

  5. 5.

    The emphasis in this report is on the CuDA framework. The fieldwork literature cited throughout provides ample illustration of actual workings of this in the ethnographic literature. Specific pieces can be consulted for detailed demonstrations of these analyses.

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Carbaugh, D. (2016). Cultural Discourse Analysis: Pragmatics of Social Interaction. In: Capone, A., Mey, J. (eds) Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society. Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, vol 4. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12616-6_22

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