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Meaning in the Media
Discourse, Controversy and Debate


  • Date Published: March 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521136402

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About the Authors
  • Meaning in the Media addresses the issue of how we should respond to competing claims about meaning put forward in confrontations between people or organisations in highly charged circumstances such as bitter public controversies and expensive legal disputes. Alan Durant draws attention to the pervasiveness and significance of such meaning-related disputes in the media, investigating how their 'meaning' dimension is best described and explained. Through his analysis of deception, distortion, bias, false advertising, offensiveness and other kinds of communicative behaviour that trigger interpretive disputes, Durant shows that we can understand both meaning and media better if we focus in new ways on moments in discourse when the apparently continuous flow of understanding and agreement breaks down. This lively and contemporary volume will be invaluable to students and teachers of linguistics, media studies, journalism and law.

    • Provides exposition of relevant linguistic and legal concepts and approaches before going on to show how and why they are significant in this field
    • Examples cover various kinds of disputes, linking processes involved in everyday interaction to more public media contestation of utterances and text
    • A mixture of an overview of general topics and also specific fields of law to provide the reader with an outline of social context for interpretative disputes about media texts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Brilliant, highly readable, sophisticated, and illustrated with a wealth of well-chosen examples, Meaning in the Media offers a major new analysis of disputes about meaning in public life, and of the linguistic, legal and social factors that affect their resolution. Essential reading not only for linguists, media scholars and specialists in language and the law, but for anyone who has ever been involved in a debate about defamation, honesty in advertising, or offensive language.' Deirdre Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University College London and co-author with Dan Sperber of Relevance: Communication and Cognition

    'Meaning in the Media is that rare find: a work accessible to students and researchers whose clarity and readability will give linguistics the type of visibility it deserves in our meaning-suffused society. For scholars and students working in a number of fields, in law and beyond, it offers a common vocabulary and analytical model with which to tackle contested meaning.' Graeme Dinwoodie, Professor of Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law, University of Oxford

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521136402
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 150 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Communication Failure and Interpretive Conflict:
    1. From personal disagreement to meaning troublespot
    2. Signs of trouble
    3. Different kinds of meaning question
    Part II. Making Sense of 'Meaning':
    4. Meaning and the appeal to semantics
    5. Interpretive variation
    6. Time-based meaning
    Part III. Verbal Disputes and Approaches to Resolving Them:
    7. Meaning as a knockout competition
    8. Standards of interpretation
    Part IV. Analysing Disputes in Different Fields of Law and Regulation:
    9. Defamation: 'reasonably capable of bearing the meaning attributed'
    10. Advertising: 'not only what is said, but what is reasonably implied'
    11. Offensiveness: 'if there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable'
    Part V. Conclusion:
    12. Trust in interpretation

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Communication and media
    • Development of Sociological Thought
    • Digital Art and New Media: History, Theory, and Practice
    • Entrepreneur & Business
    • Nonfiction Writing
    • Research Studio
    • Sociology of the Media (tentative)
  • Author

    Alan Durant, Middlesex University, London
    Alan Durant is Professor of Communication at Middlesex University Business School, London. His previous publications include How to Write Essays and Dissertations: A Guide for English Literature Students (2nd edition, 2005) and Ways of Reading (3rd edition, 2007). He was also co-editor of The Linguistics of Writing: Arguments Between Language and Literature (1987).

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