Codes and Cultural Discourse Analysis

Donal Carbaugh

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:
Codes and Cultural Discourse Analysis


The concept of code is used in this body of work to identify a system of beliefs and values that is immanent in communication practices. The concept has its roots in the works of Basil Bernstein, who explored patterns of communication among social classes in Britain. Bernstein formulated the idea to account for variation in communication practice, and it is that commitment to variability or diversity, along with others, such as distinctiveness and membership, which grounds the idea of speech code, or communication code, as it is used here. Cultural Discourse Analysis is a methodology for examining codes, and has been developed within this intellectual tradition. According to Gerry Philipsen, a pioneer and seminal figure in such study, cultural communication is the realization of a code in a communal conversation. The theory of cultural communication and of cultural discourse focuses on distinctive means of communication that are used in specific contexts, and the meanings of those practices to participants who use them. The methodology employed in this type of analysis is rigorously based on five analytically different yet complementary modes of analysis; these involve four nonoptional modes of theoretical, descriptive, interpretive, and comparative analyses. A fifth mode is also valuable at times, and it involves critical study.

Article.  7554 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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