In specialized as well as in everyday discourse, individuals usually use texts to understand their meaning in a community. Understanding is indeed the spontaneous mode of dealing with intellectual discourse since texts are written to convey a message to be understood by the readers. Accordingly, in the social sciences and humanities, many interpretive methodologies have emerged that have recourse to understanding for example in ethnographic and historical research. Yet even though understanding is crucial for any strategy that aims to develop a certain expertise of a discourse, it can pose problems when discourse is to be made an object of empirical investigation. In this workshop, we will review the practical options we have to deal with the problems occurring in the research process. We will look into examples from ongoing research projects on academic and political discourses.

Johannes Angermuller, Dominique Maingueneau, Ruth Wodak (2014): The Discourse Studies Reader. An Introduction. (ed. Johannes Angermuller, Dominique Maingueneau, Ruth Wodak): The Discourse Studies Reader. Main Currents in Theory and Analysis. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, S. 16-36