Conference Announcements

DN20 2018

DiscourseNet 20: Exploring Fuzzy Boundaries in Discourse Studies

Thu, 17 May 2018 – Sat, 19 May 2018

The aim of the 20th DiscourseNet conference is to focus on the multifarious aspects of fuzzy boundaries in the field of discourse studies. The field of discourse studies itself is marked by complex boundary work and a certain degree of fuzziness regarding the use of linguistic categories. Moreover, fuzziness and boundary work are also inherent dimensions of cognition and subjectivity, it can therefore be considered a fundamental feature of the discursive construction of reality. This conference explores the different ways in which fuzziness operates in empirically observable discourse.

 We can observe fuzzy boundaries within the field of Discourse Studies per se in the following respects (cf. Angermuller et al. 2014: 2):

  •  the variety of disciplinary fields, e.g. (socio)linguistics, sociology, philosophy, literary criticism, anthropology, psychology, etc. and intellectual traditions (rule-based, experience-based, poststructuralist, hermeneutic, semiotic, psychoanalytical, etc.);
  • the fuzzy diversity of schools associated with prominent figures such as Blommaert, Fairclough, Foucault, Goffman, Grice, Gumperz, Habermas, Harris, Hymes, Labov, Lakoff, Pêcheux, Petőfi, Sacks, Schiffrin, or Wodak;
  • in terms of research methodologies and what constitutes data and corpora in Discourse Studies: here we can mention intuition-based, corpus-based and corpus-driven approaches, sociolinguistic interviews, matched-guised techniques and discourse completion tasks, and the emerging importance of triangulation and approaching the data from different plausibility contexts, i.e. complexity and hybridity in terms of sampling as well as analysing data;
  • fuzzy boundaries with regard to the goals and aims of Discourse Studies, especially in terms of the theoretical-descriptive-applied-critical dimensions: most analyses providing rich discourse-theoretical inspiration lend themselves to empirical testing, while linguistic description, applied research and critical analysis are futile without sound theoretical foundations.

 We invite contributions which deal with theoretical and/or methodological challenges with reference to fuzzy boundaries such as (but not exclusive to) the above issues. We welcome papers from all strands, schools, and perspectives in Discourse Studies, from the humanities to the social sciences, from strictly interpretive to quantifying methodologies, from discourse as a situated practice to discourse as socially distributed knowledge.


Reflecting fuzzy boundaries and the diversity of disciplines in Discourse Studies,

Christopher Hart

(Lancaster University, UK)


Heike Pichler

(Newcastle University, UK)

have confirmed their participation as plenary speakers

 The deadline has been extended, abstracts of no more than 200 words should be submitted in English to by 1 October 2017. The presentations (15 minutes) are normally also in English but other languages are negotiable after the individual panels have taken shape. Notifications of acceptance are expected to be communicated by early October 2017. If accepted, applicants will have to register to confirm their participation. An early-bird fee of EUR 80 will apply until 15 December 2017 for fully funded researchers and a reduced fee of EUR 50 for enrolled students without access to institutional funding (after 15 December a regular fee of EUR 100 and a reduced fee of EUR 60 will apply). There is a limited number of places. Registration will be closed when full.

 After the conference, a book proposal for a thematic volume (or possibly two) based on selected conference papers will be submitted to Palgrave Macmillan for the “Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse” series.

Péter Furkó (Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary)
Conference Website:
Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary

Budapest, Kálvin tér 9, 1091 Hungary
Budapest, Budapest

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