Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3 September 2020 Pp. 567-684
A Validity-Theoretic Approach to Interdiscursivity in Theresa May’s 2019 Resignation
Amir H.Y. Salama
Department of English, College of Science and Humanities in Al- Kharj
Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Department of English, Faculty of Al-Alsun (Languages)
Kafr El-Sheikh University, Egypt
The present study seeks to propose Habermas’s (1976, 1992, 1998, 2001) validity-theoretic approach as a method for conducting political interdiscursive analysis. The approach is predicated on the methodological correlation between the three validity claims of truth, truthfulness, and rightness, on the one hand, and the respective speech acts of constatives, expressives, and regulatives, on the other. The data used for analysis is the resignation speech delivered by the ex-Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, on 24 May 2019 in Downing Street, following her political failure to deliver Brexit. The study derives its significance from attempting to uncover the pragma-argumentatively motivated interdiscursive patterns in May’s speech. In other words, the explanatory power of traditional interdiscursivity can be enhanced through integrating the pragma-argumentative component of validity-claim theory into the current form of political interdiscursive analysis. The study’s main finding is that, with the presence of pragma-argumentative links, there are four rationally oriented interdiscursive relations in May’s speech: (a) practical-aesthetic, (b) practical-theoretical, (c) theoretical-aesthetic, and (d) aesthetic-theoretical. Two crucial implications have emerged from this finding: (i) the dominant interdiscursive pattern in May’s speech is the practical-aesthetic interdiscourse, where May justifies her validity claims to truthfulness through the normative context of what best serves the UK’s political interests; (ii) both cases of theoretical-aesthetic and aesthetic-theoretical interdiscourses proved to have a dialectically interdiscursive meaning on the rational basis that two discourses are reciprocally justifying – and at some point, legitimating – each other.
Keywords: Brexit, interdiscursivity, Jürgen Habermas, resignation speech, speech acts, Theresa May, validity-theoretic approach
Cite as: Salama, A. H.Y. (2020). A Validity-Theoretic Approach to Interdiscursivity in Theresa May’s 2019 Resignation Speech. Arab World English Journal, 11 (3) Pp. 567-684.
Abdul Rahman, N. A., Habil, H., & Osman, H. (2017). Interdiscursivity functions of incident reports. Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences, 7(3), 230-236.
Alexander, J. (1991). Habermas and critical theory: Beyond the Marxian dilemma? In A. Honneth, & H. Joas (Eds.), Communicative action: Essays on Jürgen Habermas’s the theory of communicative action (pp. 49-73). (J. Gaines & D. L. Jones, Trans.). Cambridge: Polity Press. (Original work published 1986)
Austin, J. L. (1962). How to do things with words. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays (C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin Texas: University of Texas Press.
Bhatia, V. K. (1995). Genre-mixing in professional communication: The case of private intentions v. socially recognized purposes. In P. Bruthiaux, T. Boswood, & B. Bertha (Eds.), Explorations in English for professional communication (pp. 1-19). Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.
Bhatia, V. K. (2004). Worlds of written discourse. London: Continuum.
Bühler, K. (2011). Theory of language: The representational function of language. (D. F. Goodwin, Trans.). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (Original work published 1934)
Candlin, C., & Maley, Y. (1997). Intertextuality and interdiscursivity in the discourse of alternative dispute resolution. In B. Gunnarsson, P. Linell, & B. Nordberg (Eds.), The construction of professional discourse (pp. 201-222). New York: Addison Wesley Longman Limited.
Cooke, M. (1998). (Ed.) On the pragmatics of communication. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing discourse: Text analysis for social research. London: Routledge.
Fairclough, N. (2010). Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.
Feng, D. W. (2019). Interdiscursivity, social media and marketized university discourse: A genre analysis of universities’ recruitment posts on WeChat. Journal of Pragmatics, 143, 121-134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2019.02.007
Foucault, M. (1970). The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences. London: Tavistock Publications.
Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge (A. M. Sheridan Smith, Trans.). New York: Pantheon Books.
Habermas, J. (1976). Some distinctions in universal pragmatics. Theory and Society, 3(2), 155-167. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00161675
Habermas, J. (1992). Postmetaphysical thinking: Philosophical essays. (W. M. Hohengarden, Trans.). Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Habermas, J. (1998). What is Universal Pragmatics?. In M. Cooke (Ed.), On the pragmatics of communication (pp. 21-103). Massachusetts: The MIT Press. (Original work published 1976)
Habermas, J. (2001). On the pragmatics of social interaction (B. Fultner, Trans.). Massachusetts: The MIT Press. (Original work published 2000)
Kopperschmidt, J. (2000). Argumentationstheorie zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius.
Kristeva, J. (1986). The Kristeva reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
Moloi, K. C., & Bojabotseha, T. P. (2014). A critical discourse analysis of intertextuality and interdiscursivity in the African National Congress (ANC). Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 3(4), 417-423. http://dx.doi.org/10.5901/ajis.2014.v3n4p417
Muwafiq, A. Z., Sumarlam, S., & Kristina, D. (2018). Intertextuality and interdiscursivity in Facebook users comments on Kompas.com news update under the topic of Paris Tragedy. International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding, 5(5), 191-205. http://dx.doi.org/10.18415/ijmmu.v5i5.376
Rajandran, K. (2020). Interdiscursivity in corporate financial communication: an analysis of earnings videos. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-03-2020-0051
Reisigl, M. (2014). Argumentation analysis and the discourse-historical approach: A methodological framework. In C. Hart, & P. Cap (Eds.), Contemporary critical discourse studies (pp. 67-96). London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Reisigl, M., & Wodak, R. (2001). Discourse and discrimination: Rhetorics of racism and discrimination. London: Routledge.
Reisigl, M., & Wodak, R. (2009). The Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA). In R. Wodak, & M. Meyer (Eds.), Methods of critical discourse analysis (2nd ed.) (pp. 62-86). London: Sage.
Saussure, F. de. (1916/1959). Course in general linguistics. New York: Philosophical Library.
Scollon, R. (2002). Interdiscursivity and identity. In M. Toolan (Ed.), Critical discourse analysis: Critical concepts in linguistics (pp. 79-94). London: Routledge.
Searle, J. (1976). The classification of illocutionary acts. Language in Society, 5(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404500006837
Verschueren, J. (1999). Understanding pragmatics. London: Edward Arnold.
Wu, J. (2011). Understanding interdiscursivity: A pragmatic model. Journal of Cambridge Studies, 6(2-3), 95-115. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.1394