Dialogic analysis of discourse dynamics for political and IR research
Center for Comparative and International Studies Swiss federal school of technology Zurich, Switzerland
This paper formulates a method of the analysis of discourse dynamics drawing on the theoretical foundations of the work of the members of the Bakhtin circle. By operationalizing the theory of dialogue into a method applicable to the analysis of written texts in different fields, such as social research, political science or IR, the paper fulfils two tasks.
First, it offers the first applicable dialogic method of discourse analysis incorporating in an articulate way the fundamental concepts of the theory of dialogue.
Second, it proposes a new method of discourse analysis in social research, political science and IR that focuses on dynamics and on the aspects of discourse often ignored in current research, namely, restrictions of genre and multi-voicedness in discourse.
Distinctively, the suggested method reveals the ways of accommodation with the anticipated reaction of the interlocutor in written exchanges, exposes different uses of borrowed speech in a given utterance, and addresses the interaction between large narratives and more basic narrative structures within the utterance.
The theory of dialogue is completed by other theories and methods such as the communication accommodation theory, stylistic analysis, genre analysis and narrative analysis and represents a tool for a comprehensive study of discourse dynamics in an exchange of written texts. In its current elaboration, the method is most suited for the study of written texts, as the dynamic changes in this medium of communication have been understudied in comparison to the oral exchanges.
The dialogic method may be applied, for example, to the study of inter-organizational communication in general or to the analysis of discursive compliance within a negotiation between a State and an international organization more concretely, or to research on the dynamics of discourse in complex settings such as document drafting within organizations, in international conferences or in parliamentary debates.