ABSTRACT

A THEORY OF SUPERSTRUCTURES: THE SCHEMA OF NEWS REPORTS

The topics we have examined in the previous chapter are subject to a specific type of organization. They are structured by abstract underlying forms, which we call ‘superstructures’, or textual ‘schemata’. Many discourse genres, including those of the media, have their own charac­ teristic schematic form or superstructure. Such a superstructure consists of a number of conventional categories, which exhibit a special linear order, as well as hierarchical organization. They determine what content typi­ cally comes first, second, or last in a text (for details, see van Dijk, 1988a).