Article published in:Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Academic Discourse
Edited by Eija Suomela-Salmi and Fred Dervin
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 193] 2009
► pp. 243–274
Clash of the Titans
The construction of the Human and Social Sciences by a philosopher and a sociologist
Our contribution looks at a specific case of academic discourse, that of the positioning of various scientific discourses within social and media spheres. More specifically, we examine how concepts used in the Social and Human Sciences (SHS) are discursively constructed by members of different scientific fields. Our approach is thus “cross-cultural” in the sense that we are analyzing discourses stemming from different (sub-)disciplinary cultures. We consider the case of the (co-)construction of scientific concepts within the specific context of a radio broadcast involving a philosopher (the interviewer) and a sociologist (the interviewee). During the discussion, several concepts are introduced by the interlocutors (“understand vs. explain”, “recognition”, “the subject”, “ethics”, “norms”…), which are defined, redefined, exemplified, etc. We scrutinize some discursive phenomena through how the philosopher and the sociologist build upon, (co-) construct and reformulate each other’s definitions and ideas, as well as their own. This is complemented by an analysis of the various positions taken by the interlocutors as well as their interaction strategies in creating their lines of thought. The ultimate goal of the article is to attempt a description of a type of academic discourse which is understudied.
Published online: 19 November 2009