Discourse and Society

Discourse and Society

Discourse and Society

Objectives of the network

The network has two objectives:

  1. To examine different relations between discourse and society, including the reciprocal constitution of these two fields. With a view to investigating these areas in a forward-looking and visionary way, research group members work in a cross-disciplinary manner and scrutinise a number of resources for social action, including the spoken language, the written language, visual expressions, architectural expressions and other semiotic characters.
  2. To contribute to knowledge sharing and experience exchange with different actors within and outside the university.

Research areas

Network members conduct research within the following areas and discourses:

  • Politics
  • Economy
  • Organisation
  • Natural science
  • Mobility
  • Urban planning and cartography
  • Power structures, ideology and identity

Analytical approaches

In order to meet the objectives, the following approaches are applied:

  • Theory of discourse
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Mediated discourse analysis
  • Nexus analysis
  • Rhetorical discourse analysis
  • Conversation and interaction analysis
  • Analysis of genre
  • Analysis of multimodality
  • Systemic functional linguistics

Examples of how the research group may in future work with these objectives, areas and approaches include for instance investigations of how social actions are expressed through an on-going re-semiotisation process, in which political decisions gradually assume a solid shape; how the identity of teenagers is created in interaction between visual, written and oral media; how the nano-biotechnological universe is constructed discursively through the interplay between many social actors with completely different backgrounds and diverging understandings and interests as regards the area; and how the public debate within the area of genetic technology is both limited and facilitated by media, inaccessible specialist discourses and a number of ethical problem matters.

Current activities

The research group is engaged in the following projects:

  • Transnational discourses, eg. migration and adoption
  • Climate change discourse
  • Discourses of transition
  • Interactional mobility studies
  • Video ethnography and micro-ethnography
  • Place, mediated discourse and embodied interaction
  • Internal and external communication of organisations
  • Discourses regarding genetically modified food
  • Discourses regarding water
  • Political discourse regarding elections in Brazil
  • Relations between the state and the private sector
  • Discourses regarding Muslims in European media
  • Health and health communication

Planned activities in the group

Network members meet the last Thursday of each month to present and discuss current research and to plan future activities, such as the preparation of project applications, conduction of seminars and publication of research results.


At present, the group has more than 15 members, but as meetings are in principle open to all interested parties, the number of participants may be expanded or reduced according to need. The director of research of the group is elected on an annual basis but may continue in the position until the research group (a majority hereof) or the director of research express a wish for a change.


Network coordinator Paul McIlvenny

Kroghstraede 3 - 3.242
9220 Aalborg East

Phone: +45 9940 9169
Enail: paul@cgs.aau.dk

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