To The Issue Of The Correlation Between Military-Political And Military-Media Discourse 19-012-00192

Abstract

This paper discusses hybrid discourse formats, in particular, military-political and military-media discourse. The declared discourse formats are defined as institutional as far as they meet the criteria of discursive and social asymmetry. In this paper, social asymmetry refers to the inequality between agents and clients of discourse in terms of access to power and knowledge, while discursive asymmetry is understood as the restrictions imposed on the client of discourse in terms of interaction with the institution. It is assumed that social and discursive asymmetry is inherent in military-political and military-media discourse to a different degree and manifests itself in different ways. The author suggests the existence of fundamental differences between military-political and military-media discourse in terms of their modes: military-political discourse is considered as a standard institutional discourse (the agent’s communication with clients) that is primary to military-media discourse. Military media discourse is defined as an external institutional discourse, which implies communication between clients whose needs are satisfied by a political institution. The research is based on such methods as comparative method and discourse analysis, in particular, critical discourse analysis. The relevance of the study is determined by the insufficient coverage of hybrid discourse formats, including military-political and military-media discourse, in modern research, as well as the importance of the social institutions within which they operate.

Keywords: Hybrid discoursemilitary-political discoursemilitary-media discourseinstitutional discoursediscursive asymmetrydiscourse analysis

Introduction

The classification of discourse is as controversial as the lack of a unified definition of discourse. At present, there is no universal classification of discourse both in Russian and foreign linguistics. The most famous classification is dividing discourse into personality-oriented and status-oriented proposed by Karasik (2000). In turn, the status-oriented discourse is subdivided into situational-role and institutional discourse.

Karasik (1998) defines institutional discourse as “a model of verbal behavior towards the certain areas of communication” (p. 190) or “text in a situation of representative communication” (Karasik, 2000, p. 25). Beilinson (2009) defines institutional discourse as “communication for fulfilling the social needs essential for the existence of the whole society and expressed as a system of actions, role prescriptions and norms of behavior” (p. 142).

Foreign researchers are also interested in institutional discourse. Agar (2009) describes institutional discourse as “a discourse where one person who represents an institution encounters another person seeking its services” (p. 147). Some scholars consider institutional discourse as a synonym for official discourse, which is reproduced by a person in power (Aritz, Walker, Cardon, & Li, 2017; Ilie, 2015; Reyes, 2011; Van-Dijk, 2017), or define institutional discourse as a specialized discourse used by social actors in various contexts (Diani, 2012; Mayr, 2015; Renkema & Schubert, 2018; Schedler & Bert, 2016).

Thornborrow (2016) emphasizes the asymmetry of institutional discourse, i.e. the inequality of its participants and their roles. The author also argues that institutional discourse is a form of interaction in which relations between the institutional role of participants and their discursive role arise as a local phenomenon that directs the conversation. Moreover, different access to power implies that any discrepancy between the actions and status of participants in communication can lead to disruption of communication (Kádár, 2017).

The asymmetry of institutional discourse is described by Davidson (2000), who writes that institutional discourse is determined by the institutional goals and habits that govern communication with this institution. Koole (1997) emphasizes that discourse participants can establish a connection between the institute and the discourse only if they have sufficient knowledge for this (Koole, 1997), while institutional discourse per se is an effective tool for organizing society in accordance with the functions performed by its representatives (Karasik & Gillespie, 2014; Lammers & Garcia, 2017).

Problem Statement

The most important issues of political life, including those of war and peace, are solved within the framework of institutional discourse. In particular, when it comes to such formats of institutional discourse as political and military discourse, as well as their hybrid formats - military-political and military-media discourse. The author characterizes the latter as hybrid because they have a common discourse basis and combine the features and properties of two or more discourse formats (Solopova & Naumova, 2018). Despite the existence of a common discourse basis, the author hypothesizes that there are fundamental differences between hybrid discourse formats that make it possible to consider military-political and military-media discourse formats as qualitatively new and not reducible to the sum of their components.

Research Questions

To test this hypothesis, the author considers the following questions:

1. How is asymmetry manifested in military-political and military-media discourse formats?

2. To which mode of institutional discourse do military-political and military-media discourse belong?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to compare military-political and military-media discourse formats for establishing their place in the classification of institutional discourse.

The relevance of this study is determined by the insufficient coverage of hybrid discourse formats, including military-political and military-media discourse, in modern research, as well as by the importance of the social institutions within which they operate.

Research Methods

The research is based on such methods as comparative method and discourse analysis, in particular, critical discourse analysis.

Findings

In this study, asymmetry is understood as the inequality of participants and their roles, including unequal access to knowledge and power that determine communication between participants.

Asymmetry is considered at the following levels:

1. Social asymmetry (inequality between agents and clients of discourse in terms of access to power and knowledge);

2. Discursive asymmetry (restrictions imposed on the client of discourse when interacting with the institute) (Freed, 2015).

It is worth noting that discursive asymmetry must be considered as a derivative of social asymmetry because any restrictions imposed on the communication between participants in institutional discourse stem from the inequality of their social status and position within a particular social institute.

The study of asymmetry requires describing the participants in a particular discourse. Since the military-political discourse is a discourse for war aimed at initiating and justifying the need for military actions, its agents are top officials, top military authorities, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, heads of international organizations, state media, etc. The clients of military-political discourse are direct or implicit audience, which is most often represented by the population (Solopova & Naumova, 2018).

President Obama’s address to the nation on Syria dd. September 10, 2013 can be considered as one of the brightest examples of military-political discourse. The status of the president as a person ensuring the safety and well-being of the population creates a vast distance between the agent and the client of military-political discourse. Unequal access to power and knowledge is undoubtful as far as the head of the state has exclusive access to confidential information.

Discursive asymmetry directly depends on social asymmetry and the distance between the agent and the client. Thus, address to the nation does not imply a direct dialogue: the reaction to such speeches is analyzed later providing the agent with the opportunity to be prepared for possible negative comments, including taking advantage of unequal access to power and knowledge.

In contrast, military-media discourse is characterized as a discourse about war aimed at analyzing the possible consequences of hostilities and criticizing them. The agents of military media discourse include media representatives, military and political authorities responsible for communication with journalists, independent and opposition media, representatives of international organizations. The client of military-media discourse is also a direct or implicit audience (population).

As in the previous example, the audience is often a passive observer of what is happening. However, it has certain levers of influence on the media and the channels of communication with them because the existence of the media directly depends on the support of the audience. From the point of view of social asymmetry, agents and clients of military-media discourse are rather hierarchically independent on each other; it is mostly a question of horizontal communication. Discursive asymmetry is manifested in the limited communication channels between agents and clients. Therefore, agents of military-media discourse have an advantage over its clients.

The asymmetry that exists between these two formats of discourse is of particular importance: military-media discourse is secondary to military-political discourse from the very beginning, since the latter is the primary source and the so-called newsworthy event for military-media discourse. Moreover, the access to confidential information typical for agents of military-political discourse deprives the agents of military-media discourse of objectivity. The agents of military-media discourse are forced to appeal, first of all, to the universal values of aversion to violence and war, as well as to the data obtained from unconfirmed information sources. This fact is also directly related to the various modes of institutional discourse, to which military-political and military-media discourse formats belong.

Beilinson (2009) identifies two modes of institutional discourse: a standard institutional discourse (the agent’s communication with clients) and external institutional discourse, which implies communication between clients whose needs are satisfied by a political institution.

Based on this classification, military-political discourse belongs to a standard institutional discourse, where the agent (for instance, the president) addresses the client (the population, including the media).

The asymmetry between these discourse formats is also manifested at the level of a discourse mode, because both agents and clients of military-media discourse are the clients of military-political discourse. For this reason, military-media discourse is an example of the so-called external institutional discourse or discourse between clients who do not have the necessary access to power and knowledge of agents of military-political discourse.

Conclusion

We can conclude that there are fundamental differences between military-political and military-media discourse both in terms of asymmetry (social and discursive) and in terms of belonging to the different modes of institutional discourse.

Military-political discourse is distinguished by a pronounced asymmetry (social and discursive), which is manifested in the exclusive access of its agents to power and confidential information, as well as in the absence of direct communication between agents and clients. When it comes to military-media discourse, discursive asymmetry prevails and is manifested in the limited communication between clients and agents of the discourse.

Military-political and military-media discourse belong to different modes. Military-media discourse has a subordinate position to the military-political one since both agents and clients of military-media discourse are clients of military-political discourse.

Thus, military-political and military-media discourse can be considered as different discourse formats that require further study for establishing the features and means of manipulation used in each of the discourse formats.

Acknowledgments

This paper is an integral part of the study on the Ural Region in the military media discourse of the Great Patriotic War (based on the digital archives of the USSR and Western Europe) and is aimed at developing theoretical provisions related both to describing the features of the declared discourse formats and establishing their place in the classification of discourse (Grant N 19-012-00192).

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

03.08.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.109

Online ISSN

2357-1330