Discourse Toolbox - Case Study

In the companion Food Site, I examine the Government's role in more detail:-

An overview of the operations of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (below)
The Aims and Objectives of the Department
The way the Aims and Objectives are presented within the Departmental Report
The various roles played by these Aims and Objectives

Details of the sources and documentatiion I have used in this study can be examined there

An overview of the operations of DEFRA

To give an idea of the extent of the current operations of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I include a copy of their home page for September 2003. The current home page can be accessed at http://www.defra.gov.uk/ Some features of the 2003 page are:-

  • The site has main menus ranging from Animal Health & Welfare to Water; Wildlife & Countryside.
  • There is a Departmental 'slogan' on the website:- "DEFRA works for the essentials of life - food, air, land, water, people, animals and plants".
  • There is a "weekly focus" section on the front page, ranging from GM Issues to the UN International year for Freshwater
  • There is the latest news (press releases ?), ranging from agricultural gangmasters to sustainable food and catering services
  • And then there is a 'quick links' section, which includes the pet travel scheme, horse passports, and sudden oak death.

These details drawn from the website give a brief overview of the 'front page' concerns of DEFRA, and of the wide range of issues they deal with.

When we turn to publications, we can also get an impression of the depth and accuracy of the statistics contained in them. To give an example (MAFF Departmental Report, 2000, p. 46-7), the average UK pig population was 7,616,000 in 1989-91, which rose to 8,146,0000 in 1998, but fell to a provisional figure of 6,482,000 in 2000. This is subdivided into numbers of sows and other pigs, the average dressed carcass weights, imports and exports of pork, bacon and ham, value of production, and so on. However, no attempt is made to interpret or explain the fluctuations in the figures.

Overall, we have a picture of an amazingly wide remit for this Department, and a considerable level of detail in the statistics they produce, ranging from details such as horse passports and the protection of a Scottish coral reef, to global issues such as GM foods.

This gives an idea of "what the Government does", but raises more questions, such as "why are they doing this, and what is their role ?"

Perhaps by looking at "what are they trying to achieve ?", we can answer these other questions.

In the food study, I select a key Government document for further analysis using the discourse toolbox

Please contact me at george@whatever-will.be if you are interested in the above

(0044)(0) 1372-749803

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