Discourse and Society

Discourse and Society

Researchers within the Discourse and Society research group undertake problem oriented and critical analysis of how language and discourse shape as well as change contemporary communication across a wide range of social fields including media, politics and the economy.

We build on a long-term, distinguished tradition at Liverpool's Department of Communication and Media in researching language/discourse and society. We study language and discourse not only as vehicles of social, political and economic change but also as carriers of relationships of power and inequality in contemporary societies. We observe a variety of forms of macro-level discursive change as well as explore the strategic nature of various discursive shifts taking place by means of mediated communication within and across various publics.

The group undertakes its research in a strongly contextual manner i.e. we explore linguistic and discursive constructions of social reality in a very close connection to the analysis of the logic of organizations and structures where discourse and communication originate. At the same time, we also look closely at the receiving end of communication processes incl. their impact on readers, audiences and other recipients of mediated, political, strategic or everyday communication.

Our work cuts across a wide variety of social sciences including, but not limited to, media and communication studies, journalism research, sociolinguistics, political sociology, political science, business, management and organizations studies and social, linguistic as well as political anthropology. Our research interests locate at the intersection of such approaches as critical discourse studies, critical linguistics, argumentation studies and critical visual as well as ethnographic analysis all seen as interdisciplinary approaches to communication-oriented studies discursive and linguistic change. In our work, we deploy qualitative and mixed-methods analyses while our work links spotlight on local, national and transnational contexts and often deploys a comparative perspective.

Our key current research interests include:

  • Discourses of mediated online and offline political communication incl. right-wing populist, racist and anti-immigration rhetoric
  • Discursive representations of society incl. gender, mental health and social class in magazines, radio TV and social/online media
  • Discursive construction of social, political and organizational identities incl. of LGBT movements, national politics and transnational organizations 
  • Discourses of strategic, organizational and crisis communication in the context of business, financial markets, public institutions and the wider national and international neoliberal political economy

Members of the Discourse and Society research group include: