Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Humility, conversations, and critical theory in social change

At the Opening Seminar of the Center for Discourses in Transition, Professor Paul McIvinney brought together a group of scholars who I believe were connected together with their enphasis on interrogating neoliberalism and processes of social/cultural change. The talk today was opened by Professor Fairclough who walked us through a careful discourse analysis of the global economic discourse. Professor Fairclough's work clearly laid out the groundwork for Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and the ways in which CDA is tied to the interrogation of public discourses of neoliberalism played out in the articulations and arguments around the financial crisis and the economic benefits enjoyed by Bankers.

Professor Adam Jaworski offered yer abother entry point to engaging neoliberal privilege by interrogating the ways in which tourist guide discourses serve specific functions and occupy specific positions of privilege. Through his close reading of the micro data on the interactions at tourist sites, Professor Jaworski drew attention to the specific discursive processes through which the everyday affair is turned into spectacular events through the discourses of tourism.

I wrapped up the opening seminar with a talk about culture-centered processes of change, and the ways in which menaings/discourses fit into the intercations among culture, structure, and agency.

What was most interesting about the events of the day was the opportunity for me to simply be a student again and learn from scholars who define the terrains of critical discourse analysis. It was for instance incredibly gratifying to take notes about the ways in which CDA is conceptualized and conducted, and the intersections with CCA. What I was most impressed by today was the opportunity for cross-pollination that hopefully builds bridges for fruitful conversations.

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