Feature 5: Intertextuality

Definition and Analysis Method

In my discussion of intertextuality, I described different frameworks for considering types of intertextuality (e.g. Bazerman, 2004; Fairclough, 1992b; Genette, 1997), and based on this work, I suggested that there were three broad types of intertextuality:

  • • Intertextuality as irretrievable texts.
  • • Intertextuality as identifiable style/register/genre.
  • • Intertextuality as retrievable texts.

In my BP text analysis, I did not address this first category above, although I presumed a considerable weight of this kind of intertextual influence. The second category above concerns structural and stylistic characteristics of genres, and these have been outlined in my analysis of genre in the previous section. In this section, therefore, I will discuss only the third category—that is, references within the analysed texts to other texts that have a more or less transparent provenance. In the BP data, the most prominent of these other texts were:

  • 1. Direct and indirect quotation, for example, eyewitness reports.
  • 2. Press releases.
  • 3. Other sources—news reports, news agencies and other reports.
  • 4. Artistic and literary references.
  • 5. Co-text.

An analysis of how and why such texts are incorporated in news media reports contributed to an understanding of how news writers use available linguistic resources as support in constructing a particular view of the BP crisis.

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