The Handbook of Discourse Analysis
What Is Discourse Analysis?
Discourse analysis is a rapidly growing and evolving field. Current research in this field now flows from numerous academic disciplines that are very different from one another. Included, of course, are the disciplines in which models for understanding, and methods for analyzing, discourse first developed, such as linguistics, anthropology, and philosophy. But also included are disciplines that have applied – and thus often extended – such models and methods to problems within their own academic domains, such as communication, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and artificial intelligence.
The variety of papers in this Handbook reflects the full range of variation in definitions of – and approaches to – discourse analysis. The different understandings of discourse represented in this volume reflect the rising popularity of the field. Although it is not our intent to explain how or why discourse has gained so powerful an appeal for so wide a range of analytical imaginations, our own intellectual/academic histories – all in linguistics – reveal some of the different paths that have led us to an interest in discourse. Since each of our paths is different, we here speak in our own voices – in the order in which we arrived at Georgetown University, where we all now teach.
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