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Events as spatial constructions : the case study of CNN's live broadcast on 9/11

  • Danino, Charlotte
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
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Events literally ‘take place’. On September 11, 2001, several events, or sub-events took place in different places so that many locations were concerned either directly or indirectly. While we traditionally focus on the temporal or notional account of events, space plays an essential role. My research focuses on the notion of event as understood in everyday language, in the sense that 9/11 was a major event. Dealt with mostly in history and philosophy, the notion concerns many disciplines (Romano 1998, Prestini-Christophe 2006, Dosse 2010), which agree on two defining characteristics:•an event is salient among the flow of accidents,•it bears a consubstantial link to language.An event exists only if or when it is talked about, related, put into words. These two characteristics are basic to meaning construction studies and encourage us to consider the notion from the point of view of linguistics. I intend to study meaning construction mechanisms in a discourse explicitly aimed at constructing (a) meaning, that is, to study the potential role of language in our understanding of the world and our experience of it. If many studies in discourse analysis have shown the interest of events as discursive construction (Guilhaumou 1996, Krieg-Planque 2009, Calabrese 2010), fewer deal with the linguistic impact they have. If we understand how the concept of a particular event, its content, is discursively constructed, the linguistic structures and constructions used in the very first productions dealing with this event deserve more attention. How do we talk about an event even before...

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