Site of Struggle
page is copied from here
on my discourse toolbox site
Tool - Non-Matching Relations
Theory - Where there is a list, or where words
or phrases are joined by a conjunction (and / or), then
we expect that the words or phrases will be of similar
type (e.g. "apples and oranges are fruit",
or "apples and grass are green"). When a conjunction
is not used in this way, it rings alarm bells, and it
can be thought of as a site where a struggle or conflict
between the people writing the text has not been resolved,
and it has come to the surface in the text
If a discourse is a site of struggle or negotiation,
then these sites are often marked in text by 'A and
B' type statements where A and B are not comparable,
and also by lists where the members of the list are
not of the same type.
I have developed this tool mostly from the work of
Eugene Winter, (1994), Clause relations as information
structure: two basic text structures in English. In:
Coulthard, (ed.) Advances in Written Text Analysis,
Routledge, London. in particular p. 50
There are many of these 'ands' and 'lists' in the text,
and many of them show a tension between economic and green
interests, e.g. A2 has 'modern, sustainable, competitive
A3 has 'protection of .. the environment and a thriving rural
O4 has '
. internationally competitive and responsive
to consumers requirements'
The green/economic tension is dealt with on
However, objective O2 is different, as follows:-
||To sustain and
enhance the rural and marine
environments and public enjoyment
of the amenities they provide and
to promote forestry
This is confusing - 'and' is used 4 times in 21 words.
1. to link "sustain and
enhance". These are equivalent verbs, and this is a normal
2. to link "rural and marine
environments". Again, this is a normal usage.
3. the third and links the initial
verbs "sustain and enhance" which apply first to
the environments and then apply also to public enjoyment of
the amenities they provide. Since the environment and public
enjoyment are of different natures, this indicates a site
4. immediately following this, there is a new main verb 'promote'
where another 'and' is used - 'and
to promote forestry'. This also is a sign of tension, and
this phrase appears to be an 11th Objective which has been
added into this one, where it doesn't fit very well.
Interpretation and Discussion.
- In previous years there have been many complaints and
campaigns about forestry operations, as in the past they
have often not enhanced the environment (as they
are often monocultures and have a negative effect on bio-diversity),
and they have not provided an amenity to the public. This
objective may be an attempt to defuse these criticisms.
It seems to have been difficult to include forestry in these
Aims and Objectives in a satisfactory way - it is difficult
for the outsider to understand why this is, but there certainly
are signs of struggle and negotiation here !
- The author could have written a much simpler "To
sustain, enhance and promote the rural, forested and marine
environments, and their enjoyment".
It is difficult for an outsider to understand why this simpler
form was not used ! It seems much clearer, but we are left
with a statement which offers to promote forestry (but not
rural and marine environments) and offers to sustain and
enhance rural and marine environments (but not forestry).
One wonders what processes might have led to this strange
- The and linking 'sustain
and enhance' with first 'the environment' and then 'public
enjoyment' is also very difficult to interpret. In any case,
'sustain and enhance' are unusual verbs to use in relation
to 'public enjoyment', and it would be interesting to know
why these words were chosen !
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