6DISCOURSE AS THE SITE OF KNOWLEDGE WORK

6.1 INTRODUCTION AND THE TURN TO TALK

“…to say something is to do something; or in which by saying or in saying something we are doing something.”

(J.L. Austin, How to do things with words; italics in original, 1962: 12)

British Philosopher John Austin's work and ideas have been profoundly influential in shaping the development of discourse analysis (DA) and a host of related fields. The crux of his insight rests on the notion that when we speak we do much more than utter words and that these words are received and interpreted by listeners as doing more than conveying a mere description or factual account of some event, for instance. The significance of these ideas is evident in all of the following discussions.

By turning in the direction of talk as the site of knowledge work, the topic of DA, the theory and methodology for the study of the dynamics of human linguistic interaction and accomplishment, takes on paramount relevance. Certainly, as far as the study of the organization goes, there is a growing popularity and credibility in postmodern paradigms and, in particular, DA. Equally, there is evidence that discursive studies are proving significant, not just in terms of the study of organizations but also in contributing to debates around what constitutes an organization, according to a report by Cynthia Hardy, professor of management at the University of Melbourne. This is a conclusion that Nelson Phillips, of London's Imperial ...

Get Knowledge and Discourse Matters now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.