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Medium and discourse

Médium et discours

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Published on Monday, February 27, 2017 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

First and foremost, the notion of medium itself appears to be surrounded by a certain epistemological vagueness. This raises several questions as to the uses of this term, which we find in the scientific literature of the humanities and social sciences, particularly in the domains of Information-Communication and Language Sciences. These uses are not always unequivocal. A need for clarification appears to be even more urgent, in the digital age, inasmuch as the question of medium has a central role. We offer a reflection around the question of the medium and its influence in the production of discourse. What are the influences of the chosen medium on our discourses? What role does it play in the conception, production and reception of our discourses? And in return, how do users appropriate the media that they use?

Announcement

Argument

First and foremost, the notion of medium itself appears to be surrounded by a certain epistemological vagueness. This raises several questions as to the uses of this term, which we find in the scientific literature of the humanities and social sciences, particularly in the domains of Information-Communication and Language Sciences. These uses are not always unequivocal. A need for clarification appears to be even more urgent, in the digital age, inasmuch as the question of medium has a central role.

The term medium is defined by the Trésor de la langue française, for its use in common language, as “that which serves as support, intermediary to something,” and more precisely, in the domain of the sociology of communication, as “means of transmission of a message”. To clarify this definition, we discern the notion of medium in the manner of Renucci and Belin (2010): “is therefore likely to become medium every element situated between two people and indispensable to the relationship between these two people”. Thus, the extension of this notion being so wide by nature, one can “establish the medium in a vast category of thought, consisting of all means, natural or artificial, which allow for the expression and the communication of thought: in this sense, voices, writing, images, roads, telegraphs, sign languages, monuments, can all be considered as specific media” (ibid.). In other words, it is a “vehicular device. Organ of transmission. Invisible support” (Debray, 1998). Within this framework, we consider that “mass media” only represents a specific subsection of the means of communication.

The function in which we are interested is therefore the one “of relay, of mediator, of support” (Renucci & Belin, 2010). As Maingueneau affirms, “today we are more and more conscious that the medium is not just a simple means of transport for discourse, but that it constrains these contents and commands the uses that we can do with them” (2016). What then are the influences of the chosen medium on our discourses? What role does it play in the conception, production and reception of our discourses? And in return, how do users appropriate the media that they use?

As this issue is able to be addressed from several perspectives, we propose three major approaches to guide your communication proposals.

Approach 1. What is the impact of the medium on discursive genres?

Worked on and (re)classified by numerous researchers in language sciences, among other domains, the notion of discursive genres is as vague as that of medium. According to various classifications, discursive genres can be determined by several factors. For us, the parameters put in place by Mikhaïl Bakhtine (1984) are sufficient: “thematic content, style and compositional construction.” Discursive genres “fuse indissolubly in the whole which the utterance establishes, and each of them is marked by the specificity of a sphere of exchange.” The situational conditions and the expected purposes evolve thanks to the constant mutation of the domains of human activity (ibid.). Because discursive genres are formed “in relation to the places of production, of diffusion and of reception within which they fall and which they characterize”, they seem to depend on the medium chosen by the producer of the text (Beacco, 2004). Indeed, “a significant transformation of the medium modifies the whole of the discursive genre” (Maingueneau, 2016). These diverse reflections on the discursive genre raise a few questions: does the medium influence the definition and the classification of discursive genres? How can discursive genres change according to the medium used? Does the incessant evolution of human activity create new genres or does it reshape already established genres?

Approach 2. What is the role of the medium in the articulation between oral and written language?

The terms written language and oral language are often used in linguistics research works for describing and defining the forms “of actualization of language” (Gadet & Guerin, 2008) adhering to different degrees to the norm: written language would thus be identified with the actualizations corresponding to the standard model and oral language with those divergent from this model (ibid.). However, such a use of these terms is evidence of the underlying non-distinction between the medial level (phonic code/graphic code) and the conceptional level (spoken language/written language). Following the model proposed by Koch and Österreicher (2001), in crossing these dimensions, we obtain four categories which are more suitable to define linguistic actualizations: phonic spoken language, graphic spoken language, phonic written language, graphic written language. Within this framework, we ask the question of the role of the medium, component which seems to be little explored and which would be improved by being integrated into the reflection in this domain. For example, one could note the productions which differ between different media on the level of content expression and, at the same time, in their linguistics forms while being susceptible to be considered as graphic spoken language (cf. a private letter written on paper and a private e-mail). What is the influence of the medium on these written works? What is the weight of the constraints that each medium imposes on the production of discourse? How can we evaluate the choice on the part of a subject of such and such medium?

Approach 3. Is communication configured by the medium?

Whether it’s oral, hand-written or digitally written, the medium is not without impact for its user. We are particularly interested in the notion of context, presented in Peirce’s model (1978), which appears to prefigure and configure discursive production. It is particularly visible in diversified domains such as the acquisition of writing (Plane, 2006) and social networks (Youn, 2012). Whatever it may be, the medium always implies some rules, implicit or not, which enable its proper use and the transmission of a message; however, a significant phenomenon is the appropriation of the medium by its user. Here, we are speaking of a diversion of the medium and of its presupposed functions to optimize the medium in order to satisfy the user’s or group of users’ own needs. According to Pignier and Gobert (2014), the enunciative level of technologies, which includes the interplay of scientific disciplines which caused the digital techniques, prefigures the practical scenes of writing and reading but it does not configure nor feature meaning. Is the setting that the medium imposes an obstacle for discursive liberty or, conversely, does it guarantee the proper continuity of exchanges? What happens when the user frees him/herself from the limits imposed by the medium?

All communication proposals in line with our symposium theme will be examined with the greatest attention. We welcome with particular interest submissions which concentrate specifically on linguistic forms in communication acts. The symposium proceedings will be published after revision by the scientific committee.

Guest speakers

  • Richard Kern, Professeur à l’Université de Californie, Berkeley
  • Gilles Siouffi, Professeur à l’Université Paris-Sorbonne

Submission guidelines

Proposals of 500 words maximum, bibliography not included, must be submitted

before May 31, 2017

to the following e-mail address: cjcpraxiling2017@gmail.com.

  • The submissions are to be made in the form of an anonymous abstract in French or in English, in .doc(x) or .pdf format
  • The first and last name of the author must be specified in the body of the e-mail, as well as the title of the communication and his/her institutional affiliation
  • The submissions will undergo a double-blind examination by two members of the scientific committee.
  • The results will be distributed to you in July 2017
  • The 10th edition of the Junior Researchers Symposium of Language Sciences, entitled "Medium and Discourse" will take place the 12th & 13th of October 2017

Scientific committee

  • ucie Alidières (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Christine Béal (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Sonia Branca-Rosoff (Université Sorbonne nouvelle – Paris 3),
  • Jacques Bres (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Karine Collette (Université de Sherbrooke),
  • Sascha Diwersy (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Christelle Dodane (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Sophie Dufour (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Laurent Fauré (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Francesca Frontini (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Corinne Gomila (Université de Montpellier),
  • Fabrice Hirsch (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Agata Jackiewicz (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Fabien Lienard (Université du Havre),
  • Giancarlo Luxardo (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Aleksandra Nowakowska (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Chrysta Pellissier (Université de Montpellier),
  • François Perea (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Sylvie Plane (Université Paris-Sorbonne),
  • Rachel Panckhurst (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Arnaud Richard (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Sophie Sarrazin (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Jérémi Sauvage (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Gilles Siouffi (Université Paris-Sorbonne),
  • Agnès Steuckardt (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Bertrand Verine (Université Montpellier 3),
  • Chantal Wionet (Université d’Avignon).

Organizing committee

  • Beatrice Dal Bo PRAXILING (UMR 5267), Université Montpellier 3
  • Laura Davis PRAXILING (UMR 5267), Université Montpellier 3
  • Jérémy Laboureau PRAXILING (UMR 5267), Université Montpellier 3

Registration fees

The registration fees for communicating authors is 70 euros until August 31, 2017 and 90 euros starting from September 01, 2017. This fee includes lunch and coffee breaks for both days.

The payment of the registration fee is to be made via the CJC Praxiling 2017 website: http://www.praxiling.fr/colloque-jeunes-chercheurs-praxiling-2017.html

Contact: cjcpraxiling2017@gmail.com

Subjects

Places

  • Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3
    Montpellier, France (34)

Date(s)

  • Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Keywords

  • médium, discours, conception, production, réception, écrit, oral

Contact(s)

  • Laura Davis
    courriel : cjcpraxiling2017 [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Laura Davis
    courriel : cjcpraxiling2017 [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Medium and discourse », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, February 27, 2017, https://calenda.org/396579

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