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The study of discourse has a long and deep history and can be traced to language philosophers and social theorists such as Mikhail Bakhtin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Michel Pêcheux, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Both a theory and a method, discourse analysis in educational research grew out of the traditions of ethnography of communication and interactional sociolinguistics, and the study of social signs and signification (semiotics). Researchers in these traditions are concerned with how discourse (defined as language and other forms of social information or meaning transmission) is used in context to accomplish educational practices. This entry discusses the varieties of discourse analysis and how they are used in education to study the way social patterns in society are reflected within schools.

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