06 July 2011

1.1 General Aims of the Thesis

This is the first paragraph in my thesis and probably the only writing that really matters for the whole day.:
The general aim of this thesis is to investigate the interaction of Evangelical YouTube users (YouTubers) and discover how different components of discourse activity contribute to the emergence of user grouping and affiliation. Building on the Bakhtinian notion of heteroglossia, or the tension between 'centralisation and decentralisation and unification and disunification' (Bakhtin, 1981, p. 272) in discourse activity, my goal is to show how dynamic notions of convergence and divergence can be seen at all levels of community development, from the emergence of community from interaction to contested power positions and structures which develop within communities. I will seek to describe and analyse discourse phenomena, particularly metaphor, categorisation, and impoliteness, observed in the dataset as dynamic, inter-dependent, and effectual with empirical social consequences for the observed users. Moreover, a critical stance will be taken towards theories which give primacy to and describe human interaction primarily in terms of cognitive functions, suggesting instead that description and analysis of dynamic interaction between humans must guide conceptualisations of human interaction particularly when attempting to answer questions about social organisation developing in and through discourse activity.