Power Talk : Language and Interaction in Institutional Discourse book cover
1st Edition

Power Talk
Language and Interaction in Institutional Discourse

ISBN 9780582368798
Published December 18, 2001 by Routledge
156 Pages

SAVE $11.39
was $56.95
USD $45.56

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The concept of social power, who holds it and how they use it is a widely debated subject particularly in the field of discourse analysis, and the wider arena of sociolinguistics.

In her new book,Joanna Thornborrow challenges the received notion that power is necessarily held by some speakers and not by others. Through the detailed analysis of communication and interaction within a range of institutional settings, she examines power as an emerging, negotiated phenomenon between participants with different status and goals.

Written in a clear style which combines attention to technical detail with accessibility, Power Talk includes:

  • a comprehensive introduction to the theme of power including the analytic approaches to power in language
  • a wide-ranging discussion of theory and practice
  • and, in-depth contemporary case studies.

Power Talk

is the first book to focus on the topic of power in situated interaction across a range of contexts. As such, it makes a timely, and important contribution to the debate surrounding social power and language use, and will be of value to both students and researchers alike.

Table of Contents

1. Power, talk and institutional discourse: some key concepts 2. Perspectives on power: approaches to the critical analysis of language and interaction 3. Institutional discourse as asymmetrical talk: power and the orderly interaction in a police interview 4. Questions and control: managing talk in a radio phone-in 5. Resources for control: discursive strategies in media interviews 6. Participation and control: the organisation of classroom discussion talk 7. Power and institutional interaction: some conclusions BibliographyIndex

View More



Joanna Thornborrow is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University. She is widely published, recently guest-editing a special issue of Discourse Studies with Theo Van Leeuwen on authenticity in media discourse, and is co-author of Patterns in Language: An Introduction to Language and Literary Style with Sh®n Wareing. She is a founder member, and co-organiser, of the Ross Priory Seminar Group on Broadcast Talk.


...'a welcome addition to the debate on the relationship between language and power, especially as it is not written from a single theoretical perspective...'

'Thornborrow's attempt to move debates into 'a more empirical domain' is one of the strengths of the book.'

Joanna Thornborrow. Power in Talk: Language and Interaction in Institutional Discourse