Themes in discourse research: The case of Diana
Themes in discourse research: The case of Diana

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Themes in discourse research: The case of Diana

1.2 Discourse as social action

Consider this first transcribed extract from the interview. Note that the numbers in brackets refer to pauses and give the length of the pause in seconds, while (.) signifies a micro-pause too small to count and .hhh indicates an audible in-breath.

Extract 1

BASHIR at this early stage would you say that you were happily married
DIANA very much so (1) but (.) er the pressure on – on us both as a couple (.) with the media was phenomenal (1) and misunderstood by a great many people (1) we'd be going round Australia for instance .hhh (2) and (.) you – all you could hear was oh (.) she's on the other side (1) now if you're a man (1) like my husband a proud man (.) you mind about that if you hear it every day for four weeks (.) and you feel (.) low about it y-know instead of feeling happy and sharing it
BASHIR when you say she's on the other side what do you mean
DIANA well they weren't on the right side (.) to wave at me (.) or to touch me (1) ehm
BASHIR so they were expressing a preference even then for you rather than your husband
DIANA yes (.) which I felt very uncomfortable with and I felt it was unfair (.) because I wanted to (.) share
BASHIR but were you flattered by the media attention particularly
DIANA no not particularly because with the media attention (.) came a lot of jealousy (1) a great deal (.) of (2) hhh complicated situations arose because of that
(Transcribed extract taken from Abell and Stokoe, 1999: 312)

This extract contains quite a complex account of events. Diana describes herself as a sharing kind of person. She describes Prince Charles as a proud man who felt low about the attention his wife was getting. She talks about her marriage. It was happy initially but disrupted by media pressure. Her account seems to do some business in presenting herself and Prince Charles. Her words are more than just an account, however, they can also be seen as a form of social action. This notion of discourse as social action is a central one and I want to look at three facets of this in some detail.

D843_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371