Let me try to clarify what this contribution to struggles means,

and what it does not mean. It does not mean that every discourse manifests conflict - social struggle, as we saw in Chapter 2, does not necessarily take the form of overt struggle or conflict. Even a discourse in which participants apparently arrive at (virtually) the same interpretations of the situation, and draw upon the same MR (interpretative procedures) and discourse types, can be seen as an effect of power relations and as a contribution to social struggle. For example, a perfectly ordinary and harmonious conversation between two married people LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница, by virtue of its perfectly ordinary unequal division of conversational 'labour7 between the woman and the man, both manifests patriarchal social relations within the institution of the family and the society as a whole, and makes a tiny contribution, on the conservative side, to struggles over the position of women in the family and in society.

In terms of the three levels of social organization in Fig. 6.4, what I am suggesting is that there are different ways of seeing the same discourse according to whether we are focusing upon it as situational, institutional, or societal practice. We are not LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница necessarily or even normally looking at different features of the discourse at these different levels; rather, we are often looking at the same features from different perspectives, as if we were changing the filters on a camera lens. It has been noticed, for example, that in perfectly ordinary domestic conversation between women and men, women react more to what men say and show more involvement, understanding and appreciation (with markers like mmhm, yeah, no, really, oh) than men do when women are speaking. This feature can be seen firstly in situational terms as showing the 'supportive' position of particular women in particular LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница domestic relationships; but it can also be seen in institutional and societal terms as one of a number of features which show a tendency for women to be cast as supporting players in interactions, while men get the star parts.

In terms of effects, a discourse may reproduce its own social determinants and the MR which it draws upon with virtually no change, or it may to a greater or lesser degree contribute to their transformation. We can see these contrasting possibilities in terms of contrasting relationships of producers (and interpreters) to MR. In the former LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница case, the producer is in a normative relation to her MR, in the sense that she is acting in accordance with them in a rather direct way. In the latter case, the producer is in a creative relation to her MR, in the sense that she is drawing upon them and combining them in creative ways, and thus trans­forming them. In so far as particular directions of creative use and adaptation of MR come to be systematic, they may bring about long-term transformations of MR and, thereby, of the social relations which underlie them.

Broadly speaking, the LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница choice between these contrasting relations of participants to MR depends on the nature of the situ­ation. Normative relations to MR are associated with situations which are unproblematic for participants, whereas creative relations to MR are characteristic of situations which are proble­matic. A situation is unproblematic if participants can easily and harmoniously interpret it as an instance of a familiar situation type - if what is going on, who's involved, and the relations between those involved, are clear and 'according to type'. In such cases, MR constitute appropriate norms (discourse types, inter­pretative procedures) which can simply be followed. Conversely, if LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница these things are not clear, MR do not provide clear-cut norms. There is a mismatch between the concrete situation and familiar situation types, which requires participants to draw upon the resources which their MR provide in creative ways in order to cope with the problematic properties of the situation. Such situ­ations constitute moments of crisis for participants, and they typically arise when social struggle becomes overt, and when MR and the power relations which underlie them - the temporarily stabilized results of past struggles - therefore themselves come into crisis. Chapter 7 gives an extended example of a problematic LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница, creative situation of crisis of this sort.

Exploration of the determinants and effects of discourse at the institutional and societal levels in particular can easily lead one into detailed sociological analysis. Since we are looking at discourse as social practice, this is hardly surprising. However, there are usually practical limitations which prevent someone doing critical discourse analysis from going too far in that direc­tion. There is no rule of thumb deterrnining how far one should extend one's analysis into sociological aspects of the institution and the society. If one is embarking upon a detailed research LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница project, a great deal of sociological analysis might be necessary, and it might make sense for a researcher whose main interests are in language to collaborate with a sociologist. In less ambitious circumstances, even quite a general account of the institution and the society in terms of social groupings and relationships may provide enough of a social matrix for the discourse.

The stage of explanation involves a specific perspective on MR: they are seen specifically as ideologies. That is, the assumptions about culture, social relationships, and social identities which are incorporated in MR, are seen as determined by particular LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница power relations in the society or institution, and in terms of their contribution to struggles to sustain or change these power relations - they are seen ideologically.

Let me now summarize what has been said about explanation in the form of three questions which (like the three questions for interpretation on page 162) can be asked of a particular discourse under investigation.

1. Socio/ determinants: what power relations at situational, insti­tutional and societal levels help shape this discourse?

2. Ideologies: what elements of MR which are drawn upon have an ideological character?

3. Effects: how is this discourse positioned in relation to struggles at the LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница situational, institutional and societal levels? Are these struggles overt or covert? Is the discourse normative with respect to MR or creative? Does it contribute to sustaining existing power relations, or transforming them?


This concludes the presentation of the three-stage procedure which has taken up the last two chapters. To round it off, let us consider the position of the analyst in the stages of interpretation and explanation, starting with the former. How is the analyst to gain access to the discourse processes of production and interpretation? These processes take place in people's LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница heads, and it is therefore not possible to observe them as one might observe processes in the physical world. The only access that the analyst has to them is in fact through her capacity to herself engage in the discourse processes she is investigating. In other words, the analyst must draw upon her own MR (interpretative procedures) in order to explain how participants draw upon theirs. The analysis of discourse processes is necessarily an 'insider's' or a 'member's' task - which is why I have called the resources drawn upon by both participant and analyst members 'members' resources' (MR).

But if LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница analysts are drawing upon their own MR to explicate how those of participants operate in discourse, then it is important that they be sensitive to what resources they are them­selves relying upon to do analysis. At this stage of the procedure, it is only really self-consciousness that distinguishes the analyst from the participants she is analysing. The analyst is doing the same as the participant interpreter, but unlike the participant interpreter the analyst is concerned to explicate what she is doing. For the critical analyst, moreover, the aim is to eliminate even that difference LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница: to develop self-consciousness about the rootedness of discourse in common-sense assumptions of MR. See Chapter 9 for more details.

The position of the analyst in explanation is more easily distinguishable from that of the participant in that the 'resources' the analyst draws upon here are derived from a social theory -recall that I outlined key elements of my resources in this respect in Chapter 2. However, self-consciousness is just as important if one is to avoid importing untheorized assumptions about society, or acting as if explanation could be theory-independent or theory-neutral. Participants do have, to varying degrees, their own LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница rationalizations of discoursal practice in terms of assumptions about society, but such rationalizations cannot be taken at face value. Again, for the critical analyst, the aim is to bridge the gap between analyst and participant through the widespread devel­opment of rational understanding of, and theories of, society. See Chapter 9.


On the distinction between description, interpretation, and expla­nation, see Fairclough N L 1985 and Candlin С N 1986; on interpretation see Jameson F 1981, Thompson J В 1984, and van Dijk T forthcoming; and on interpretative procedures see Cicourel A 1973. Levinson S 1983 is a thorough introduction to pragmatics, with chapters on speech LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница acts, implication ('implicature') and presupposition. Leech G N 1983 is an account of the author's own approach to pragmatics, which includes relevant discussion of the pragmatics of negative sentences. See also Searle J 1969 on speech acts. Schank R, Abelson R 1977 is a major study of schemata and related notions. See also Tannen D 1979. There is a great deal of sociolinguistics literature on analysing situational context. Downes W 1984 is a recent introduction to sociolinguistics, and Hymes D 1962 is a classic paper. Halliday МАК, Hasan R 1985 is written from the perspective of systemic linguistics. On the radical dependence of LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница interpretation on situational context, see Garrod S 1986. Giddens A 1976 includes a general sociological account of problems relating to the position of the analyst in social analysis. The example of speech acts in classroom discourse on p. 156 is from Sinclair J, Coulthard M 1975.




Creativity and struggle in discourse: the discourse of Thatcherism

One objective of this chapter is to fill something of a gap which I left in the procedure of Chapters 5 and 6: I said relatively little there about processes of text production. Another closely related objective is to develop the conception of the subject in discourse which I have introduced in LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница Chapters 2 and 4 (see pp. 38-40 and 102-106). I presented the subject there as having the apparently paradoxical properties of being socially determined, and yet capable of individual creativity; obliged to act discoursally in preconstiruted subject positions, yet capable of creatively trans­forming discourse conventions. I shall argue that social determination and individual creativity are not the opposites they appear to be.

A third objective is to provide an opportunity for us to work with the procedure introduced in Chapters 5 and 6 on an extended example. Most of this chapter will be taken up with a case study on the discourse of Thatcherism LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница, that is, the political discourse associated with the so-called Thatcherite trend in British Conservatism. We shall be working with an extract from a radio interview with Mrs Thatcher herself. This part of the chapter will be organized around a series of questions about the interview. As in previous chapters, I hope that readers will work through these questions themselves before reading my suggested answers.


First of all, then, let us look at the connections between text production, and the social deteimination and creativity of the subject. I want to focus in this section upon one motivation, not LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница necessarily or even normally conscious, that people have for producing texts: the resolution of problems of various sorts in

their own relationship to the world and to others. We can cat­egorize such problems with the now familiar distinction between contents, relations, and subjects. The position of the producer may be problematized in any of these respects.

The position of the producer may be problematized as to contents where some discrepancy arises between the producer's common-sense (ideological) representations of the world, and the world itself. This may happen because of changes in the world, for instance, or LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница when the producer's representations come into contact with other incompatible representations. A familiar case of the former type is where a newspaper, say, tries to deal with some event which appears to conflict with its normal way of representing that 'part7 of the world - say a newspaper which consistently supports the police come thick or thin needs to deal with large-scale serious injuries to members of 'the public' in the course of an industrial picket.

The producer's position may be problematized in terms of relations, in the sense of the social relations between producer and LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница interpreter(s) (addressee, audience). An example might be an interaction in any of a range of types of situational context, where producer and addressee are of different sexes. Mixed-sex inter­action is widely problematic these days because of the increas­ingly contested relative social positions of women and men.

The position of the producer may be problematized in terms of subjects, either in terms of the subject position or social identity of the producer, or in terms of the subject position or social ident­ity of the interpreter(s). Examples of the former can be found in education wherever the LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница precise nature of the subject position of 'teacher' is in doubt - when for example the pupils or students are narrowing the gap between themselves and their teachers in terms of attaining the status of adults, or attaining knowledge or qualifications commensurate with the teacher's. The latter case is specifically to do with situations in which the subject position of the interpreter(s) is a problem for the producer. This may be so, for instance, for a politician who is trying to either maintain or create commonality of ideology or allegiance among (the sections of a population represented in) an LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница audience - the case study later in the chapter will give us an example of this.

These three types of problems in the position of the producer are not purely of a discoursal nature, but I have presented them in such a way as to indicate their discoursal aspects. These discoursal dimensions of producers' problems can be seen as a consequence of discourse conventions becoming destabilized -or, in the terminology I introduced in Chapter 2 (p. 39), the 'de-structuring' of orders of discourse, in the sense that a rela­tively stable relationship between discourse types in an order LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница of discourse comes to be disrupted. In other words, producers experience problems because the familiar ways of doing things are no longer straightforwardly available. There are, as we shall see below, social reasons for the de-structuring of orders of discourse.

If problems are the consequence of de-structuring, resolving them requires some restructuring: a strategy for dealing with the problematization of one's position is to be creative, to put together familiar discourse types in novel combinations as a means of finding new ways of doing things to replace the now-problematic old ones. There may be evidence of restructuring LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница in the formal features a text: formal features constitute traces of the production process, and where this involves combining diverse discourse types, we might expect diversity in the traces. We can put this in the terms of Chapter 5: formal features have exper­iential, relational, and expressive values, and an indication of creative restructuring is where we find formal features which clash on one or more of these dimensions of value.

Sometimes the traces of the different discourse types drawn upon are relatively easily separable in the text. But if producers are to successfully resolve problems through restructuring, the texts they LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница produce will need to be what we might call 'seamless', in the sense that the traces of different discourse types are not easily separable, and a harmonization of values is achieved between them. This is likely to need time: texts generated from a particular restructuring of discourse types may progressively come to be seamless, as the novel combination of discourse types comes to be naturalized. In this way, restructurings which are effected by producers in particular discourses in response to particular experiences of problematization, come to be restructur­ings of the order of discourse. One outcome may be LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница that what starts as a new combination of discourse types ends up being a discourse type in its own right. Advertising is a case in point: its importation of features of face-to-face spoken interaction, such as the direct form of address with you, is now so well naturalized that what was originally a mix of 'public' and face-to-face discourse types is now arguably a discourse type in its own right. See Chapter 8 for further discussion of advertising.

I have so far been focusing upon the individual produce experience of problems, and attempts to resolve them. This LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница been within the domain of interpretation, in terms of procedure. But interpretation needs complementing with _ stage of explanation: although the de-structuring and restni turing of orders of discourse affect individuals and involve vidual creativity, their main determinants and effects lie outsi" the individual, in the struggles between social groupings, are experienced as individual problems can be interpreted soc as indicators of the de-structuring of orders of discourse whiG occur in the course of social struggles - see Chapter'If (pp. 68-69) on discourse as a stake in as well as a site of sod3|j; struggle. And what LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница are experienced as individual attempts I" resolve problems can be interpreted as moves in social struggle towards the restructuring of orders of discourse.

What, then, of the relationship we started with in this sectioiT? between text production, and the subject as socially determined: and yet creative? What I have been drawing attention to is the воещ nature of individual creativity: the creativity of the subject is socially-determined, in the sense that creativity flourishes in particulaf social circumstances, when social struggles are constantly de1-? structuring orders of discourse; and the creativity of the subject; is socially constitutive, in LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница the sense that individual creative actsi cumulatively establish restructured orders of discourse. Thus the social and the individual, the determined and the creative, are not paradoxically opposed to one another, but facets of a dialectical process of social fixation and transformation.


The text we shall be working on is an extended extract from a
much longer interview between Margaret Thatcher (мт) and
Michael Charlton (мс), which took place on BBC Radio 3 on 17
December 1985. ;

(1) мс: Prime Minister you were at Oxford in the nineteen
forties and after the war Britain would embark on a
period of relative prosperity for all the like of which it
had LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница hardly known but today there are three and a
(5) quarter million unemployed and e:m

Britain's economic performance by one measurement has fallen to the rank of that of Italy now can you imagine yourself back at the University today what must seem to be the chances in Britain and the

(10) prospects for all now

мт: they are very different worlds you're talking about because the first thing that struck me very forcibly as you were speaking of those days was that now we do enjoy a standard of living which was undreamed of

(15) then and I can remember Rab Butler saying LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница after we

returned to power in about 1951-52 that if we played our cards right the standard of living within twenty five years would be twice as high as it was then and em he was just about right and it was remarkable

(20) because it was something that we had never thought

of now I don't think now one would necessarily think wholly in material terms indeed I think it's wrong to think in material terms because really the kind of country you want is made up by the strength of its

(25) people and I think we're returning to LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница my vision of

Britain as a younger person and I was always brought up with the idea look Britain is a country whose people think for themselves act for themselves can act on their own initiative they don't have to be told

(30) don't like to be pushed around are self-reliant and

then over and above that they're always responsible for their families and something else it was a kind of em I think it was Barry who said do as you would be done by e: you act to others as you'd like them to act

(35) towards LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница you and so you do something for the

community now I think if you were looking at another country you would say what makes a country strong it is its people do they run their industries well are their human relations good e: do they respect law

(40) and order are their families strong all of those kind of



and you know it's just way beyond economics
but you know people still people still ask

though e: where is she going now General de Gaulle
(45) had a vision of France e: a certain idea of France as he

put it e: you have fought three major battles in LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница this country the Falkland Islands e:m against the miners and local councils and against public expenditure and people I think would like to hear what this vision you

(50) have of Britain is it must be a powerful one what is it

that inspires your action мт: I wonder if I perhaps I can answer best by saying how I see what government should do and if government really believes in people what people should do I

(55) believe that government should be very strong to do

those things which only government can do it has to be strong to have defence because LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница the kind of Britain I see would always defend its freedom and always be a reliable ally so you've got to be strong to your own

(60) people and other countries have got to know that you

stand by your word then you turn to internal security and yes you HAVE got to be strong on law and order and do the things that only governments can do but there if s part government and part people because

(65) you CAN'T have law and order observed unless if s

in partnership with people then you have to be strong to uphold the value LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница of the currency and only governments can do that by sound finance and then you have to create the framework for a good

(70) education system and social security and at that point

you have to say over to people people are inventive creative and so you expect PEOPLE to create thriving industries thriving services yes you expect people each and everyone from whatever their background

(75) to have a chance to rise to whatever level their own

abilities can take them yes you expect people of all sorts of background and almost whatever their income level to be able to have a chance of owning LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница some property tremendously important the

(80) ownership of property of a house gives you some

independence gives you a stake in the future you're
concerned about your children
мс: but could ["you sum this vision up
мт: [( ) you said my vision

(85) please let me just go on and then that isn't enough

if you're interested in the future yes you will probably save you'll probably want a little bit of independent income of your own and so constandy

thinking about the future so it's very much a Britain
(90) whose people are independent of government but

aware that the government has to be strong to LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница do

those things which only governments can do мс: but can you sum it up in a in a in a phrase or two the

aim is to achieve what or to restore what in Britain
(95) when clearly risking a lot and winning in a place like

the Falkland Islands is just as important in your

philosophyIfor Britain as as
мт: [i think

restoring sound money reducing the money supply in
(100) the Bank of England

мт: but of course it showed that we were reliable in the

defence of freedom and when part of Britain we: was

invaded of course we went we believed in defence of

freedom we were reliable LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница I think if I could try to sum
(105) it up in a phrase and thaf s always I suppose most

difficult of all I would say really restoring the very

best of the British character to its former


мт: but this has meant something called Thatcherism now (110) is that a description you accept as something quite

distinct from traditional conservatism in this country мт: no it is traditional conservatism мс: but it's radical and populist and therefore not (115) conservative

мт: it is radical because at the time when I took over we needed to be radical e: it is populist I wouldn't LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница call it populist I would say that many of the things which I've said strike a chord in the hearts of ordinary (120) people why because they're British because their

character IS independent because they DON'T like to be shoved around coz they ARE prepared to take responsibility because they DO expect to be loyal to their friends and loyal allies that's why you call it (125) populist. I say it strikes a chord in the hearts of

people I know because it struck a chord in my heart many many years ago

Text 7.1 Source: Interview between Michael Charlton and LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница Margaret Thatcher, BBC Radio 3, 17 Disember 1985

Case study: the analysis

As I indicated at the beginning of this chapter, this section will be organized around a series of questions, and I recommend readers to work through these questions themselves before looking at my suggested answers. There are six questions. The first four are to do with the description stage of the procedure outlined earlier. In accordance with the focus of this chapter, they are specifically concerned with textual features considered as traces of the process of production. In the case of questions 1-3, these are traces of the restructuring of discourse types LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница with respect to relations between the interviewee (Mrs Thatcher) and the audience (question 1), the subject position of the female political leader (question 2), and the subject positions of the addressees in the radio audience (question 3). I have not assigned a question to contents, representations of the world, because it is less interesting than relations and subjects in this case. Ques­tion 4 is concerned with traces of struggle in the text. Question 5 is concerned with the procedural stage of interpretation, and with the processes of production and interpretation within it. And question 6 is concerned with the stage of explanation.


Before we start LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница working on the questions, let me briefly contex-tualize the extract and the topic of the case study, the discourse of Thatcherism, by sketching out the political context of Thatch­erism. In so doing, I shall be pre-empting the explanation stage of procedure, and therefore pre-empting the answer to question 6. But, as I said in Chapter 5, there is no reason why the procedure should be applied in one order rather than another. Indeed, it is often helpful to come back to a stage one has already applied in the light of what emerges from LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница applying the other stages. The view of Thatcherism I shall present owes most to the political analysis associated with the Communist Party journal Marxism Today.

Britain has been afflicted for decades with a process of relative decline, as an industrial nation, and as a world power. Successive Conservative and Labour governments have been unable to halt or reverse this process despite temporary successes. Since the onset of world capitalist recession at the beginning of the 1970s, it has intensified, and Britain has suffered from a prolonged crisis, not only economic, but also a general social crisis which is manifested in LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница many ways - intensified industrial struggle, urban decay, crises in welfare services, an upsurge of racism, a wide­spread crisis in relations between women and men, and so forth. The Conservative (1970-74) and Labour (1974-79) administrations of the 1970s were both ineffectual in dealing with this crisis, and both ended up in disarray - the miners' strike and the 3-day week for Edward Heath, the 'winter of discontent' for James Callaghan.

Thatcherism is a radical response from the right to these deep-seated problems and political failures. It is radical in the sense that it has broken with the 'postwar consensus', the political settlement LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL LIFE SERIES 14 страница following the Second World War which both main parties had hitherto respected, and whose main elements were commitments to full employment and the 'welfare state'. It there­fore rejected post-war Conservatism, and especially the Conservatism associated with Heath, as decisively as it rejected social democratic Labourism. It set out to swing the political spec­trum and the limits of acceptable political action decisively to the right.

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