Jeffries, Lesley (2003) Not a drop to drink: Emerging meanings in local newspaper reporting of the 1995 water crisis in Yorkshire. Text - Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, 23 (4). pp. 513-538. ISSN 1613-4117
Abstract

This article takes data from the Huddersfield Examiner (HE) and the Yorkshire
Evening Post (YEP) and critically analyzes discourse features of the
November 1995 drought as reported in these papers. It suggests that this kind
of discourse generates new linguistic categories, which exist between the
generalized patterns of language (langue) and the differentiated experience
of language in context (parole). Whilst the langue-parole distinction is no
longer seen as absolute, if it is seen as a gradable concept it could capture the
tension between stability and change characterizing actual linguistic experience
of discourse participants. The value of textual analysis is discussed and
the article asks how far texts can be described as (re)producing ideologies
in a particular context. The research reported here is based on a small, discrete
corpus of news texts and concludes that the data in question produce a
meaning for the word water that differs from its meaning over larger bodies of
data, and yet which maps closely onto the meaning of the word commodity.
The general ideological outlook encompassing this view of water as productlike
and passive, rather than a natural resource with its own agency, is
considered as an ‘explanatory’ mechanism linking this news ‘story’ with a
dominant capitalist ideology.

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