CDA - Knowledge

Another way of looking at discourse is from the perspective of knowledge. There are certain relationships where knowledge is the key to understanding what is happening, for example, in doctor-patient relations, the power is with the doctor because of his knowledge and experience

Jaeger has made the following points about knowledge in discourse (Jaeger, 2001, pp. 38-41 references)

  • knowledge is the basis of action, and it is formative action that shapes reality, so we can analyse
    discursive practices
    non-discursive practices
    manifestations / materialisations
    and the relationships of these elements
  • he calls this the 'dispositive' (as did Foucault)
  • as people (active individuals), we allocate meaning to reality
    in the present
    in history
    and in the future for which we plan
    thus we create reality in a certain way (for good and bad)
  • reality is not always reflected in consciousness, but consciousness relates to reality. Discourse provides the concepts and all the knowledge for the shaping of reality, as well as of further reality concept
  • if the knowledge contained in a discourse changes, other meanings are allocated to it, and it becomes another object (a beggar may make his home in a bank entrance; a disused steelworks is converted into a heritage centre) - the 'floor of meaning' is taken from beneath the feet of the object in question, and/or modified.
  • Reality is meaningful only when
    people are bound up or 'knitted into' the socio-historical discourses
    they allocate (and continue to allocate) meaning to the situation (the reality, discourse, objects, etc.)
    If this is no longer the case, then either
      the objects change
      or lose their meaning
      the original meaning might be re-constructed
      or, it might have become entangled with other meanings,
      or, the meaning might even cease to exist


    seasonal crops are an example of this - strawberries can be bought every day of the year now - once, they were special and only available in June when the British crop was ready. I suspect that some young people no longer realise that they are seasonal. The reality of strawberries and the seasons has changed !
  • Other different examples of different realities are
    The zodiac, which only exists by tradition, but works for some.
    The "floods of foreigners" type of metaphor, which names foreigner with negative connotations (p. 44)
    There are many examples of knowledge being taken into different discourses in different ways, and then each discourse claiming equal validity. (like rival football fans interpreting an incident between their teams)
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