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Discourse in the shadows: Discursive construction and the Northern Ireland Assembly

Wilson, John and Stapleton, Karyn (2012) Discourse in the shadows: Discursive construction and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Discourse & Society, 23 (1). pp. 69-92. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1177/0957926511419930


Parliamentary discourse (PD) is shaped by pre-defined rules, which may be strategically transgressed to achieve political goals. Here, we examine a relatively unique form of PD, the discourse of the ‘Shadow Assembly’, which was tasked with establishing the procedures of the new Northern Ireland Assembly (1998). Using a discursive constructionist perspective, which emphasizes the intersection between social theory and sociolinguistics, we examine how Members of the Assembly vie to discursively establish the fundamental parameters of political behaviour within the Assembly. These included address terms, speaking rights and, indeed, which language members should speak. Hence, we have a rare opportunity to examine how discursive construction mediates the future forms of interactional limits and constraints. In particular, we consider PD in a context where the rules are not pre-established and there is, moreover, a strong history of socio-political conflict. We also consider the role of culture in shaping and constituting PD.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Communication
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Communication
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:20950
Deposited By: Dr Karyn Stapleton
Deposited On:07 Feb 2012 10:07
Last Modified:06 Nov 2012 12:18

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