Commentaries on “Multiple Discourse Analyses of a Workplace Interaction”

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Santoi Leung


The web journal occasionally publishes brief commentaries on issues that are of interest to the TESOL/AL community. In this issue, we asked contributors to respond to the article, Multiple Discourse Analyses of a Workplace Interaction by Stubbe, Lane, Hilder, Vine, Vine, Marra, Holmes, and Weatherall (2003). The article presents an exercise rarely seen in scholarly discourse analysis journals. The authors analyze the same piece of data from a number of different approaches: conversation analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, politeness theory, critical discourse analysis, and discursive psychology. The data is a nine-minute audio recording of a naturally occurring workplace interaction between a male manager and a female subordinate. Although there are broad similarities between the analyses, the authors suggest that there are significant differences in the aspects of interaction focused upon, leading to the diplomatic conclusion that the different approaches “are not necessarily in conflict with one another – rather, they are complementary in many ways, with each approach capable of generating its own useful insights” (p. 380).

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