TRADITION OF THE USAGE OF THE NOTION OF DISCOURSE AND ITS USEFULNESS IN THE STUDIES IN ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE PRESENT TIME
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The tradition of the studies of discourse derives from the famous de Saussure's distinction discerning two levels of linguistic description: 'langue' where language is treated as a system of signs and 'parole' in which language is the subject of study as the speech-act, performance, the socio-cultural event. The concept of discourse has defined the subject of interest for linguists (e.g. Barth), philosophers (e.g. Ricoeur), historians (Foucault) and sociologists (e.g. Hymes). In ethnology the first attempts to study speech-acts ( parole) reach back as far as Bronislaw Malinowski who was interested in the cultural function of incantations as well as the problem of constructing social relationships through speech-making. Currently the most popular meaning of the concept of discourse applied in ethnology is that suggested by Rapport who defines it as 'ways of speaking which are commonly practiced and specifically situated in a social environment' . This dictionary definition can be supplemented by the statement of Mohl pointing out the social functions of discourse: 'discourse in the broad sense of the term, not only reflects society, it creates and encompasses society. There is no society, no social outside discourse'. The local discourse on politics, which is the authoress' research subject, consists of everyday conversations about authority and persons in power. According to the assumptions of discursive analysis, notions and concepts should be distinguished, those around which conversations are organized as well as typical terms, phrases and frequently used comparisons. Strategies and lines of reasoning should be described. As the next step particular terms, phrases and expressions should be related to the historical, political economic and socio-cultural context within which they function and within which they have been coined.. As a result of such analysis the mental model of authority will be constructed, the one which emerges in the local discourse on politics.
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