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The aim of this paper is to see what Critical Discourse Analysis is. This implies scrutinising its origins, what it has meant to the academic world as a whole, how it encapsulates various trends with different theoretical backgrounds and methodological approaches, what are its limitations and its new developments. A simple practical example will show its potential.
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Critical Discourse Analysis, An overview
Encarnacion Hidalgo Tenorio, University of Granada
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to see what Critical Discourse Analysis is. This implies
scrutinising its origins, what it has meant to the academic world as a whole, how it
encapsulates various trends with different theoretical backgrounds and methodological
approaches, what are its limitations and its new developments. A simple practical
example will show its potential.
Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis; Foucault; Habermas; Systemic Functional
Grammar; Linguistic Criticism; cognition; corpus linguistics.
1. Introduction
In this paper, I describe the heterogeneity of Critical Discourse Analysis
(CDA), its power to attract and annoy, and its most exciting traits and
weaknesses, which have caused debate and disagreement. More than two
decades have passed from the analysis of excerpts to the study of large
corpora, from allegedly interested selection to random collection of data.
Its social implications encouraged its development. Leaving mere
intuition aside and exploring the trace of ideology in texts other than
literary ones contributed to its scientificity and helped broaden its scope.
I will pay attention to CDA as problem-oriented social research,
founded in social history, semiotics and linguistics; to scholarly
approaches that are also considered critical; to the objections raised
against CDA; and to new trends trying to tackle its limitations. The
question of what should be understood by critical is also addressed, with
the aim of resolving misconceptions associated with this label. It is
equally important to clarify commonly used terms, including text,
discourse and context as well as others that have a central role in CDA
itself, in particular, ideology, power, dominance, prejudice and
representation. Further, because CDA has its origins in textual and
linguistic analysis, I will address the question of why one particular
theory of language, Halliday‟s (1985) Systemic Functional Grammar
(SFG), has been widely adopted by CDA researchers. SFG is not the
only linguistic theory used by CDA practitioners and I shall comment on
the other methods of linguistic analysis that have been applied. However,
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linguistics is not the only, or even the most important influence on the
development of CDA, so I shall also give attention to others from
sociology, social theory and philosophy.
Among the key authors in the discipline, I will highlight Wodak,
Fairclough, Kress, van Leeuwen, van Dijk and Chilton, who represent
the major approaches I refer to here. These scholars share interest areas
such as inequality, control, literacy and advertising. While I cannot
analyse one specific text from each perspective, I provide clues as to how
it would be implemented and point to tools CDA has put forward to
attack its allegedly fatal malady, overinterpretation.
This area of applied linguistics, which has variously been taken to be
a paradigm, a method and an analytical technique, was originally known
as Critical Language Studies (Billig 2003). It goes by various similar
names. For instance, van Dijk (2009) prefers the term Critical Discourse
Studies, suggesting that this may help see it as a combination of theory,
application and analysis. The interest of this cross-discipline (van Dijk
1997) lies in attending to all types of semiotic artefacts, linguistic and
non-linguistic. A central aim in all the various approaches is that critical
analysis raises awareness concerning the strategies used in establishing,
maintaining and reproducing (a)symmetrical relations of power as
enacted by means of discourse. CD analysts focus on those features
contributing to the fabric of discourse in which dominant ideologies are
adopted or challenged, and in which competing and contradictory
ideologies coexist.
2. What is discourse?
The first obstacle faced by newcomers to the field is the various
definitions of the concept of discourse. In a modified version of a
taxonomy by Bloor and Bloor (2007: 6-7), it is possible to make the
following kinds of distinction:
- discourse-1 is the highest unit of linguistic description;
phonemes, morphemes, words, phrases, clauses, sentences and
texts are below;
- discourse-2 is a sample of language usage, generally written to be
spoken, that is, a speech;
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- discourse-3 refers to the communication expected in one
situation context, alongside one field and register, such as the
discourse of law or medicine;
- discourse-4 is human interaction through any means, verbal and
non-verbal;
- discourse-5 is spoken interaction only;
- discourse-6 stands for the whole communicative event.
Wodak and Meyer (2009) associate this diversity with three different
trends: The German and Central European tradition, in which the term
discourse draws on text linguistics; the Anglo-American tradition, in
which discourse refers to written and oral texts; and the Foucauldian
tradition, in which discourse is an abstract form of knowledge,
understood as cognition and emotions (Jäger and Maier 2009).
Gee‟s (1999) pair small-d-discourse and big-D-discourse
encapsulates these senses above cogently: The former refers to actual
language, that is, talk and text. The latter, to the knowledge being
produced and circulating in talk; to the general ways of viewing, and
behaving in, the world; to the systems of thoughts, assumptions and talk
patterns that dominate a particular area; and to the beliefs and actions
that make up social practices. Chilton‟s (2004) languageL, languagel,
discourseD and discoursed are very much in the same line. Cameron
(2001) does not use these labels but her meaning is comparable when she
distinguishes between the linguists’ discourse (i.e. language above the
sentence and language in use) and the social theorists’ discourses(s) (i.e.
practice(s) constituting objects). In a similar vein, van Dijk (1997)
proposes linguistic, cognitive and socio-cultural definitions. He first
argues that discourse is described at the syntactic, semantic, stylistic and
rhetorical levels. Secondly, he adds that it needs to be understood in
terms of the interlocutors‟ processes of production, reception and
understanding. And, thirdly, he points to the social dimension of
discourse, which he understands as a sequence of contextualised,
controlled and purposeful acts accomplished in society, namely, a form
of social action taking place in a context (i.e. physical setting, temporal
space plus participants). Since context is mostly cognition, that is, it has
to do with our knowledge of social situations and institutions, and of how
to use language in them, van Dijk claims that each context controls a
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specific type of discourse and each discourse depends on a specific type
of context.
From Widdowson‟s perspective (2004), texts can be written or
spoken, and must be described in linguistic terms and in terms of their
intended meaning. Discourse, on the other hand, as text in context, is
defined by its effect. In his words, discourse “is the pragmatic process of
meaning negotiation”, and text, its product (2004: 8). Co-textual relations
are concerned with text and contextual relations with discourse; that is,
text cohesion depends on discourse coherence.
CD analysts Fairclough and Wodak (1997: 276) refer to the
following senses: Language use in speech and writing, meaning-making
in the social process, and a form of social action that is “socially
constitutive” and “socially shaped”. The concept Fairclough finally opts
for is semiosis, in order to include not only linguistic communication but
also, for example, visual communication, as well as to generalise across
the different meanings of the term discourse. Semiosis plays a part in
representing the world, acting, interacting and constructing identity, and
can be identified with different “perspectives of different groups of social
actors” (Fairclough 2009: 164). Discourses can be appropriated or
colonised, and put into practice by enacting, inculcating or materialising
them. In contrast, texts are “the semiotic dimension of events” (ibid.),
where we can find the traces of differing discourses and ideologies
(Weiss and Wodak 2003).
The origin of the latter ideas can be tracked back to philosopher
Michel Foucault (2002: 54), for whom discourses are “practices that
systematically form the objects of which they speak”. In their
interpretation, Fairclough and Wodak (1997: 261) add that discourses
“are partly realized in ways of using language, but partly in other ways”,
for example visual semiosis. Texts are the only evidence for the
existence of discourses, one kind of concrete realisation of abstract forms
of knowledge; at the same time, they are interactive and influenced by
sociolinguistic factors. In the process of constructing themselves in
society, individuals internalise discourses that comprise the core of a
community of practice, in the sense that such discourses control and
organise what can be talked about, how it can be talked about and by
whom. Social practices are meaningful and coherent in that they conform
to discourse principles. As manifestations of ideologies, discourses form
individual and collective consciousness, and consciousness influences
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people‟s actions; that is, through the repetition of ideas and statements,
discourse solidifies knowledge (Jäger and Maier 2009), and reflects,
shapes and enables social reality. Furthermore, it can be defined by the
activities participants engage in, and the power enacted and reproduced
through them; thus, we can speak about feminist or nationalist discourse,
doctor-patient or classroom discourse, the discourse of pity, whiteness or
science, or hegemonic and resistant discourses. To Foucault‟s definition,
van Leeuwen (2009: 144) adds that discourse involves social cognitions
“that serve the interests of particular historical and/or social contexts”,
represent social practices in text, and transform or recontextualise them.
As will be seen later, van Dijk places considerable emphasis on this
notion.
3. What makes DA critical?
CDA is naturally embedded within Critical Theory, a paradigm
developed in the last three decades whose critical impetus originates in
the Frankfurt School, especially Habermas. As Wodak and Meyer (2009:
6) recall, in 1937 Horkheimer urged social theory to critique and change
society, which meant to improve its understanding by integrating social
sciences, to show how social phenomena are interconnected, to produce
knowledge that helps social actors emancipate themselves from
domination through self-reflection, and to describe, explain and eradicate
delusion, by revealing structures of power and ideologies behind
discourse, that is, by making visible causes that are hidden. The scope of
CDA is not only language-based. Its critical perspective attracts scholars
from various disciplines, as well as activists. Their concern lies with
unveiling patterned mechanisms of the reproduction of power
asymmetries. Anthropology, linguistics, philosophy and communication
studies, among others, may share this inclination.
From its inception, CDA was a discipline designed to question the
status quo, by detecting, analysing, and also resisting and counteracting
enactments of power abuse as transmitted in private and public
discourses. For some, to be critical might imply to be judgemental.
However, this is not the case here, because, as Jäger and Maier (2009:
36) state, this kind of critique “does not make claims to absolute truth”.
CDA is understood to be critical in a number of different ways: Its
explicit and unapologetic attitude as far as values and criteria are
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concerned (van Leeuwen 2006); its commitment to the analysis of social
wrongs such as prejudice, or unequal access to power, privileges, and
material and symbolic resources (Fairclough 2009); its interest in
discerning which prevailing hegemonic social practices have caused such
social wrongs, and in developing methods that can be applied to their
study (Bloor and Bloor 2007). All this makes CDA an example of
research aiming for social intervention. Fairclough and Wodak (1997)
add that a critical reading goes beyond hermeneutics. In their view, CDA
aims at demystifying texts shaped ideologically by relations of power; it
focuses on the opaque relationship between discourse and societal
structure; and it does so through open interpretation and explanation, by
relying on systematic scientific procedures, that is, by achieving distance
from the data and setting them in context. Self-reflection concerning the
research process is a must. In sum, CDA seeks to expose the
manipulative nature of discursive practices, and improve communication
and well-being by removing the barriers of assumed beliefs legitimised
through discourse.
4. The origins of CDA
The philosophical and linguistic bases on which CDA is grounded are
certain branches of social theory and earlier discourse analysis, text
linguistics and interactional sociolinguistics. Certain proponents of CDA
are influenced by Marx‟s critique of the capitalist exploitation of the
working class, his historical dialectical method, his definition of ideology
as the superstructure of civilisation (Marx and Engels 1845/2001), and
his notion of language as “product, producer, and reproducer of social
consciousness” (Fairclough and Graham 2002: 201). Some also draw on
Althusser‟s (1969/1971) conception of interpellation, which describes
the way an individual can be aware of themselves as a constructed
subject within discourse on their becoming part of someone‟s utterances.
Likewise, Gramscian hegemony (1971) influences a number of CDA
scholars. It formulates the idea that power can be exercised and
domination achieved not only through repressive coercion, oppression
and exploitation, but also through the persuasive potential of discourse,
which leads to consensus and complicity.
Habermas (1981) is frequently cited by CDA writers. His key
contribution in the theory of communicative action is the notion of
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validity claims, which, according to him, are universally presupposed in
all discourse. He further maintains that language can be used either
strategically or in a manner oriented to understanding. In the latter,
validity claims can be challenged and defended in a communication
situation that is free from coercion, is only based on rational argument,
and permits access to all who are affected by the discourse. These
characteristics are absent from the strategic use of language; it is to
challenging the strategic use of language that CDA pays attention.
Foucault (1972), in contrast to Marx and Habermas, thinks that
consciousness determines the social production process. Despite
contesting the existence of an autonomous subject, he believes in the
individual‟s involvement in the practical realisation of power relations.
Discourses are produced by all individuals, then, especially those who
have the right to use all resources (Jäger and Maier 2009).
In the late 1970‟s, the University of East Anglia nursed a new trend
of analysis, as linguists and literary theorists were interested in linguistic
choice in literature (see Fowler 1986). Later on, they would focus on
other texts of relevance in the public sphere, especially the mass media.
This did not mean only a terminological change (i.e. from linguistic
criticism to critical linguistics). The new label, which is sometimes taken
as synonymous with CDA, implied a new attitude in academe: The
scholar‟s commitment against social injustice. The East Anglia School
proposed Hallidayian linguistics for the analysis of news texts (Hodge
and Kress 1993). Language as social semiotic, the three metafunctions,
and transitivity and modality became staples in this new discipline.
Chomsky‟s grammar (1957) was also appropriated since one of its main
concerns is describing the implications of syntactic transformations:
Passivisation and nominalisation have been the focal point of many a
CDA work.
5. Examination of approaches to CDA
Notwithstanding obvious similarities, especially as regards agenda and
scope, proponents of schools of CDA differ according to theoretical
foundations or methodology. Some tend towards deduction and others
proceed inductively. The former base their explanations on a few
examples; the latter scrutinise a larger collection of data; without doubt,
this can be more time-consuming but absolutely reliable and unbiased.
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All in all, they all generally attend to categories such as tense, deixis,
metaphor, attributes or argumentative topoi.
Fairclough‟s Dialectical-Relational Approach to CDA is an
essentially Marxist framework, anchored in his (1989, 1995) research on
language, ideology and power, where we find a very influential
terminology, including dominance, resistance, hybridisation of
discursive practices, technologisation of discourse and
conversationalisation of public discourse. As Wodak and Meyer (2009)
explain, Fairclough highlights the semiotic reflection of social conflict in
discourses, which translates into his interest in social processes (i.e.
social structures, practices and events). A pragmatic side of this approach
is his support for critical language awareness, which to him is essential
in language education (Fairclough 2007). Fairclough describes the
following procedure: The scholar looks at one social problem with a
potential semiotic dimension. This dimension is analysed by identifying
its styles (or semiotic ways of being), genres (or semiotic ways of acting
and interacting) and discourses (or semiotic ways of construing the
world). Later, the differences between styles, genres and discourses are
identified. Next, the researcher studies the processes by means of which
the colonisation of dominant styles, genres and discourses is resisted.
The focus then shifts to the structural analysis of the context, and the
analysis of agents, tense, transitivity, modality, visual images or body
language. Eventually, interdiscursivity is dealt with. Regardless of the
apparent neatness of this methodology, Fairclough (2009) denies there is
one single way of analysing any problem. Interestingly, he believes that,
after selecting one research topic, the scholar constructs their object of
research by theorising it. Its transdisciplinarity is one of the outstanding
strengths of one approach where researchers may prefer (detailed but not
always too rigorous) analysis of few data, selected, sometimes, by using
somewhat unclear methodology and, to some extent, opaque style
encouraging less critical thinking than one might expect.
Van Dijk‟s Socio-Cognitive Discourse Analysis is an approach
characterised by the interaction between cognition, discourse and society.
It began in formal text linguistics and subsequently incorporated
elements of the standard psychological model of memory, together with
the idea of frame taken from cognitive science. A large part of van Dijk‟s
practical investigation deals with stereotypes, the reproduction of ethnic
prejudice, and power abuse by elites and resistance by dominated groups.
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Van Dijk also emphasises the control of discourse dimensions as a means
to gain access to power. A further element in his account of discourse
production and comprehension is the K-device, which is shorthand for
personal, interpersonal, group, institutional, national and cultural
knowledge (van Dijk 2005). Cognition, realised in collective mental
models as a result of consensus, is the interface between societal and
discourse structures (van Dijk 2009). While societal structures influence
discursive interaction, in the latter the former are said to be “enacted,
instituted, legitimated, confirmed or challenged by text and talk”
(Fairclough and Wodak 1997: 266). Van Dijk (2009) believes CDA
needs a model of context such as Moscovici‟s (2000) social
representation theory: One individual‟s cognition is informed by
dynamic constructs known as social representations, that is, the
concepts, values, norms and images shared in a social group, and
activated and maintained in discourse. He advocates the analysis of
semantic macrostructures, local meanings, formal structures, global and
local discourse forms, specific linguistic realisations and context. The
aspects he focuses on are coherence, lexical and topic selection,
rhetorical figures, speech acts, propositional structures, implications,
hesitation and turn-taking control. Despite its power, in this approach, it
is my belief that intersubjective agreement between scholars is not fully
guaranteed by a slightly deficient explanation of how to apply some of
the rules identified by van Dijk in discourse practice; thus, method and
conclusions are open to multiple interpretation.
The Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) (Wodak and colleagues)
attempts, inter alia, to describe those cases where language and other
semiotic practices are used by those in power to maintain domination
(Reisigl and Wodak 2009). Initially, DHA was concerned with
prejudiced utterances in anti-Semitic discourse. Recent developments
include the discursive construction of national sameness and the social
exclusion of out-groups through the discourses of difference, and the
reconstruction of the past through sanitised narratives. The general
approach reflects sociolinguistics and ethnography; it also gives an
important place to Habermas‟s notion of the public sphere and to
strategic communicative action as opposed to ideal communication
oriented to understanding. Its central tenet is the importance of bringing
together the textual and contextual levels of analysis. The model of
context used in DHA invokes historical knowledge understood in terms
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of four layers: (a) the linguistic co-text, (b) the intertextual and
interdiscursive level, (c) the extralinguistic level, and (d) the socio-
political and historical level (Wodak and Meyer 2009). The
interconnection between various texts and discourses leads directly to the
notions of de-contextualisation and recontextualisation, processes in
which elements typical of a particular context can be taken out of it and
inserted into a new context with which it has not been conventionally
associated. DHA has further produced a series of analytical and
descriptive tools, drawing on linguistic models and argumentation
theory. In particular, DHA lists six strategies for identifying ideological
positioning (i.e. nomination, predication, argumentation,
perspectivisation, intensification and mitigation) which are analysed as
part of a larger process that includes also the characterisation of the
contents of a discourse, linguistic means of expression and context-
dependent linguistic realisations of stereotypes. One of the strengths of
DHA is the emphasis on the combination of observation, theory and
method, and the continuum between application and theoretical models.
Its historical, political and sociological analyses are also, in my view, an
important part of its methodology, especially in relation to systems of
genres, although the lack of a fully systematic procedure in this regard is
one of its weaknesses.
The Duisburg School is heavily influenced by Foucault‟s work. A
particularly strong underlying conviction is that it is discourse that makes
subjects (Jäger and Meier 2009). In other words, an individual‟s sense of
who they are arises from their imbrication in systems of historically
contingent meanings communicated by institutionalised patterns of
behaving, thinking and speaking. This kind of framework, sometimes
referred to as Dispositive Analysis, also draws on social constructivism
(Laclau 1980) and activity theory (Leont‟ev 1978), and claims that social
selves are constituted in a semiotic network that includes not only
linguistic mediation of various kinds but also architectural arrangements,
legal practices, customs, rituals, modes of moral thought, social
institutions and so forth. Their notion of discourse is built upon “an
institutionalized way of talking that regulates and reinforces action and
thereby exerts power” (Link 1983: 60). While Foucault‟s approach is
relatively vague as regards discourse in its linguistic manifestation, the
Duisburg approach pays attention to metaphors, references, style,
implied meaning, argumentation strategies, the sources of knowledge,
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and agentive structures and symbols. Like DHA, the Duisburg approach
advocates an analytic procedure. After selection of a particular subject
matter, analysis is focussed on one domain, such as the media. This is
followed by the structural analysis of one discourse strand (“what is said
and sayable at a particular point in time”, Jäger and Maier 2009: 46) and
of typical discourse fragments, that is, the different topics each text deals
with. Linguistic-discursive practices are explored through the analysis of
texts; non-linguistic discursive practices, through ethnographical
methods; and materialisations, through multimodal analysis and artefact
analysis. The interest of an approach like this, concerned, inter alia, with
everyday racism, patriarchy in immigration discourse or the discourse of
the right, may be diluted, however, behind the imbalance between its
complex theoretical apparatus and what may seem to look as only
content-based analysis.
There is a prominent strand of CDA that advocates the use of
Halliday‟s SFG. This is the framework of linguistic description used by
Fairclough, as it was also by Fowler et al. (1979) and Hodge and Kress
(1988). In those studies that make use of SFG, different linguistic
descriptions of the same piece of reality are claimed to stand for different
constructions of that reality. Thus one and the same historically
occurring event can be described as a riot, a demonstration or a protest;
and social actors can be presented as agents or victims by selection of
grammatical coding. More generally in this approach, text types
represent social practices (i.e. regulated ways of doing things), which
involve participants, actions, performance modes, presentation styles,
times and locations, resources and eligibility conditions. Theo van
Leeuwen (2009) has developed SFG‟s formal framework for the
classification of the semiotic system of social actor types and for the
classification of the different ways in which social actors can be
linguistically represented. According to this author, deletion,
substitution, rearrangement and addition are the transformations that
elements of a social practice undergo through discourse.
Recontextualisations add the what for and the why (or why not) of a
social practice. In discourse, van Leeuwen hypothesises, social actors can
be included or excluded; actions can be represented dynamically or not,
as if there were no human agents or the opposite; we can generalise
them, or make them stand for specific references, abstractions, symbols;
as for practices or their elements, these can be set in a context, or
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reallocated. By making explicit the ranges of ways in which texts
represent social actors, their actions and purposes, van Leeuwen seeks to
analyse how specific discourses legitimise some of these actors and
practices and intentions rather than others. His concern with an overall
comprehensive analysis of complex semiotic phenomena (the language
of images included), which is not yet complete, by way of linking
various disciplines may be both one of its strengths and one of its
drawbacks at the same time.
Finally, I will mention Mediated Discourse Analysis (Scollon and
Scollon 2005), which highlights the role of ethnography and semiotics.
As with the DHA, this emphasises the diachronic dimension, and texts
are viewed as situated discourse (Scollon 2003). Further, Scollon and
Scollon revisit Bourdieu‟s notion of habitus (a system of permanent,
identical characteristics, which, by integrating past experiences, mediates
perceptions, judgments and actions), and develop it by appropriating
Nishida‟s (1958) concepts of action-intuition and the historical body (a
combination of the social and the psychological). Scollon and Scollon
(2005) claim that discourses are always present at any moment. They
depict the individual as an actor “embodied in the society of various
social groups” (Scollon 2003: 172). Subsequently, one of their goals is to
find the link between individual action and public discourse, so as to
achieve an understanding of how we internalise the social world and
how, through action-intuition, the historical body of a social actor is
externalised. I must admit that their optimistic standpoint as to the
possibility of researchers acting in the world in order to make a
difference in the actual world and their concern with problems in
intercultural communication is more than exciting; however, some
relative lack of very detailed concrete methodological guidelines may
deter scholars.
6. Critiques of CDA
The merits and demerits of CDA research have been the object of a
certain amount of critique. The problems that have been picked up
concern context, cognition, partiality and the linguistic model employed.
Most critics do not call into question the existence or epistemological
relevance of CDA, perhaps with the exception of Widdowson and
Chilton, but are aware of its shortcomings: Its theoretical foundations are
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quite tangled in many cases, and the use of concepts and categories may
seem to be inconsistent, which does not encourage the production of a
systematic theory. Eclecticism, if lacking in justification, can be a source
of contradiction.
Although Widdowson (2004) does not oppose CDA‟s cause, he casts
doubts on its modes of analysis. He cannot agree with the way CDA uses
SFG, where meaning is understood as a condition of texts, taken from
them, not put into them. He points out that there is a gap between
addresser meaning and addressee interpretation of this meaning, on the
grounds that the perlocutionary effect is not a feature of texts but a
function of discourse, in which the addressee‟s assumptions are shaped
by their knowledge and beliefs. Hallidayan grammar offers interesting
devices for the description of semantic meaning (or signification);
however, to Widdowson‟s eye, this is defective because it fixes on
isolated sentences instead of utterances. He adds that, in this framework,
the concept of context is as essential as it is indeterminate. If meanings
are understood as properties of the interaction between words and
contexts, interpretation is an imprecise process. In a nutshell,
Widdowson regards some CDA approaches as examples of the
functional fallacy, by which he means the idea that pragmatic meaning
(or significance) may be produced directly by signification. He maintains
that abstracting sentences from their contexts and choosing examples
relevant to the ongoing research does not lead CD analysts to produce
analysis in the strict sense of the term: Pretexts influence how to
approach texts and the type of discourses derived from them. To him,
CDA is a biased, unprincipled, conventional, decontextualised cherry-
picking of linguistic features, closer to impressionistic commentary,
which supports interpretation and yields simplistic findings. Widdowson
argues that CDA is critical in the sense that it has moral appeal, socio-
political justification and liberal ideological positioning. And he accepts
that the CD analyst observes issues that are relevant in areas other than
the scholarly world and addresses how control is exercised though
language. However, he strongly urges that CDA should adopt a critical
attitude towards its own purposes, methods and practices, be explicit in
methodological procedures, which must be replicable, and apply
consistent principles and systematic linguistic theory. In all, CDA should
comprise systematic analysis of entire texts, co-texts and contextual
relations.
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Although Chilton has contributed many papers on discourse that
have a social-critical intention, his (2005) paper is critical of CDA,
maintaining that what CDA lacks is a cognitive theory of language that
could show how discourse affects social cognition and vice versa.
Cognitive frame theory, conceptual metaphor theory and blending theory
can explain better than traditional CDA approaches (including SFG) why
phenomena such as racism and prejudiced thought can occur. In addition,
Chilton hints that the work by critical analysts is based on no particular
scientific programme and may simply reflect a universal ability in non-
expert cheating-detection, going so far as to suggest that, taking into
account its audience and scope, CDA may be of limited social import.
Billig (2003) thinks that CDA has the crucial characteristics of a
critical approach: The claim to be critical of the current social order and
of the approaches which do not critique the current social order‟s
domination patterns. He also recognizes the importance of CDA‟s claim
that non-critical approaches prevail in the academic world, resulting in
keeping existing power relations unchallenged; and he supports CDA‟s
insistence that an interdisciplinary approach is needed. Nevertheless, he
recognises that, through naturalisation and institutionalisation, a critical
approach may itself become a dominant discourse and, consequently, a
dominant discipline, with the shortcomings of the approaches it
criticises.
Other critical voices include those of Martin and Blommaert.
Martin‟s approach (1992) critiques CDA because of its inability to put
into practice its social-based ambitions, so that in the end it observes
social phenomena we mostly dislike, producing very persuasive
materials on why they are offensive, but failing to suggest practical
action. Instead he proposes Positive Discourse Analysis (Martin 2000).
He argues that, for the purpose of social change, scholars should analyse
not only texts they find objectionable but also texts they find admirable
and motivating. As for Blommaert (2005), he deals with the discursive
production of inequality and the need for self-critique in CDA. Drawing
on linguistic ethnography, he refers to a particular kind of parochialism.
He considers that one of the shortcomings of this field is that generally
most work produced to date pays attention to texts of relevance in the
West since, as a rule, CDA is not applied to societies other than the First
World. He further criticises CDA on the grounds that it has demarcated
boundaries around itself as a field: Much discourse analysis can be
Critical Discourse Analysis
197
critical, says Blommaert, without subscribing to the underlying
assumptions and methods of CDA.
7. New directions in CDA
New formats and materials involved in communication have encouraged
new avenues of CDA research, analysis of the multimodal properties of
texts being one significant innovation. Other trends include developing
the connection between CDA and cognitive linguistics, analysing gender
semiosis, and bringing corpus linguistics into CDA.
In recent decades, attention has been drawn to just one
communicative mode, verbal language. However, music and pictures are
the basis for the meaning-making process in the audio and visual modes;
the size, colour and frame of a news report are important to guide the
addressee‟s engagement with the text; the distribution of images and the
timing of news are significant in TV and the press; body posture,
gestures and the use of space help construct our text and talk (Hodge and
Kress 1988; Kress and van Leeuwen 2006).
Having underlined CD analysts‟ tendency not to go beyond the
verbal detail and the sentence level, so that it is hard to explain what
happens in the mind when reception takes place, Chilton (2005) stresses
the necessity to look at how we construct knowledge, that is, which
procedures are necessary for individuals to share views and build mental
models. This implies, for instance, his concern with the role of cognitive
frames in facilitating human processing of information, and with the
cognitive strategies deployed in order to infer other people‟s intentions.
In the same vein, O‟Halloran (2003) had already concluded that there
must be a link between sentential structures and mental representations,
all of which seem to be controlled by discourse rules, an idea that needs
to be reassessed in the light of connectionism (McClelland and
Kawamoto 1986). In his model of reading for gist, O‟Halloran discusses
the extent to which lay readers attend to absences from a news text
(especially as far as causal relations are concerned), and considers how to
avoid mystification in the interpretation stage (Hart 2010).
Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis aims to analyse the relationship
between gender and language, which mostly means examining
enactments of power by men and women in the public domain (see
papers in Lazar 2005). Sexism, victimisation, emancipation and the
Encarnacion Hidalgo Tenorio
198
construction of identity are key issues in question. Feminist research has
been prolific in investigating the role of gender in politics, the media, the
workplace and the classroom context. The evolution from the deficit,
difference and dominance approaches to a shift to discourse (see
Litosseliti 2006) has been crucial. In current research, attention is not
directed towards whether men and women speak differently, or whether
the language of females is a deviation from the male norm (traditionally,
the excuse to explain male superiority at some levels), but to comprehend
gender as a dynamic construct (Cameron and Kulick 2003; Sunderland
2004).
Finally, it has been argued that the use of corpus linguistics
techniques in CDA may help to avoid or reduce researcher bias.
Quantitative computer-aided corpus approaches can address large data
sets, and the focus of analysis can take into account collocations,
keyness, semantic preference and semantic prosody. What appears to be
obvious and is taken-for-granted are checked against the data at the same
time that unexpected findings arise in the procedures of description and
analysis (Mautner 2009). Patterns of preferred and dispreferred lexis and
structures (Baker 2006) facilitate detecting of the ideologies of
hegemonic discourses associated with particular texts. The limitations of
corpus approaches to CDA are that they work with very little context,
may hinder close reading and can help us learn only about the verbal
domain. Corpus-informed CDA can give the impression that it is a
mechanistic or positivist approach. O‟Halloran and Coffin‟s (2004)
discussion of over- and under-interpretation counters this view, however.
8. An example of CDA
Analysis in CDA can be top-down, where analysts begin with their
understanding of the content; or bottom-up, where the starting point is
the linguistic detail. In practice, however, some combination of both is in
play. The analyst looks for what is encoded in sentences (i.e.
signification) and its interaction with context (i.e. significance). In this
respect, the analyst is merely doing what an ordinary reader would
normally do, but with more conscious attention to processes of
comprehension, their possible effects, and their relationship to a wider
background knowledge than the ordinary reader may assume to be
relevant. Depending on the approach, various linguistic devices are paid
Critical Discourse Analysis
199
attention to with a view to understanding their contribution to some
potential strategically intended meaning that may be linked with
ideology. The clues found are interpreted, and some explanation is
expected about them and their implications. For example, many CDA
writers use Hallidayan linguistics, focusing on the ideational and
interpersonal metafunctions of language, specific deployment of which
may, it is claimed, reveal author-to-audience power relationship or be
connected (by further interpretation) with the author‟s positioning. Here I
show CDA at work by studying the British Press discursive construction
of the killing of Saddam Hussein‟s sons.
The analysis of how people speak or write about crime is interesting
because, by describing the verbal construction of perpetrators, we can
decipher the discourse of wrongdoing, and gain an insight into the
conception of the world held by the speaker or writer. Thus, the language
of the journalists who presented Saddam Hussein‟s sons as agents of evil
may also tell us much about the journalists themselves and the
newspapers they work for. To illustrate my point, I have studied all the
news articles published in the UK on 15 December 2003, both on paper
and on the Internet (when available), one day after Saddam Hussein was
captured by US troops. The newspaper subcorpus consisted of 56 items,
including all sorts of articles and other materials (see Table 1). The web
newspaper subcorpus was a 17,492 word collection of 16 articles taken
from the Daily Mail, 7 from The Guardian and 3 from The Independent.
Table 1. Newspaper corpus
Daily
Mirror
Daily
Mail
The
Independent
The
Guardian
TOTAL
Authored articles
10
8
13
8
39
Un-authored articles
7
7
Editorials
1
1
1
1
4
Comments
2
2
Speeches
2
2
Extracts of speeches
2
2
TOTAL
11
16
16
13
56
A full analysis might focus on metaphor, modality, transitivity and
lexical selection, among other features. Given that I want to examine the
Encarnacion Hidalgo Tenorio
200
construction of opinion, I look at transitivity, which in SFG is treated as
part of the ideational metafunction (see Halliday 1985), and provides a
powerful tool for the analysis of how meaning is embodied in the clause.
In particular, the category of transitivity deals with the linguistic means
we have for expressing, through language, our experience of the world
around us. Its components are participants, the processes these are
involved in and the circumstances in which processes take place. There
is some tendency for clause constituents to be expected to have a specific
semantic role: Subjects are generally agents; direct objects, patients;
indirect objects can be recipient or beneficiary; subject complements,
attributes, and so on. As for the types of processes, Halliday proposes
six: Material (action, event), behavioural, mental (perception, affect,
cognition), verbal, relational (attribution, identification) and existential.
In spite of this looking like a precise taxonomy, it can still be difficult to
identify sometimes which is which when there seems to be overlapping
(see Table 2).
Table 2. Processes in the corpus
Positive %
Negative %
Neutral %
They
He
They
He
They
He
0.00
0.18
0.52
0.35
0.17
0.53
0.17
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.17
0.18
6.22
5.27
17.79
30.40
21.59
19.33
1.38
0.18
1.90
2.99
2.59
1.58
0.69
0.53
2.59
1.93
2.25
0.35
0.00
0.00
0.35
0.00
2.94
0.88
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.35
0.35
3.28
4.22
6.56
16.17
1.73
5.27
Critical Discourse Analysis
201
0.00
0.70
0.00
1.05
0.00
1.93
0.00
0.18
0.00
0.53
0.17
0.35
2.07
0.53
3.28
1.41
21.24
2.64
In my corpus, the West (the so-called Coalition) is in the main involved
in material (action) and verbal (saying) processes (see Table 3 below).
Since they are identified with many of the values and beliefs supported
by the privileged voice behind these newspapers, they are sayers (or,
simply, speakers) whose voice is heard profusely in several ways. They
are also represented as agents, or doers, who carry out generally neutral
or more positive actions than their “High Value Target”. The others of
the West, the Iraqis, are scared, dead or victimised sufferers; very few
are said to be actors or heard articulating their thoughts. That is, they are
those affected by the processes and as such are often encoded as
grammatical objects. As for Saddam, who is described as perverse, is
accordingly demonised, dehumanised and objectifiedthis
representation of him arising in large part also as a result of the
journalist‟s selection of verbs expressing the processes in which he is a
participant. So far, none of this is surprising. The position of the
newspapers is reflected in their negative depiction of the dictator and the
marginalisation of all voices other than the non-problematic West. The
ideology of the media is equally transparent in the next set of examples,
which concern the dictator‟s sons.
Encarnacion Hidalgo Tenorio
202
Table 3. Semantic roles in the corpus
Participant
Positive %
Negative %
Neutral %
They
He
They
He
They
He
Active
voice
Actor
5.28
3.16
12.85
20.91
21.13
8.08
Behaver
0.00
0.18
0.35
0.18
0.18
0.53
Beneficiary
0.35
0.00
1.06
0.70
2.82
0.53
Carrier
3.17
3.87
6.51
15.82
1.76
4.39
Cause
0.00
0.00
0.53
0.18
0.00
0.18
Existent
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.35
0.18
Goal/phenomenon
0.00
0.35
4.58
5.98
0.00
6.50
Identified
0.00
1.05
0.00
0.70
0.00
1.76
Inducer
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.18
0.00
0.18
Possessor
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.18
0.00
Recipient
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.18
0.88
0.18
Sayer
2.46
0.53
2.46
1.05
20.95
2.46
Senser
0.53
0.53
0.88
0.35
5.46
1.41
Passive
Voice
Actor
0.35
0.00
1.94
1.93
0.70
0.53
Carrier
0.00
0.35
0.18
0.88
0.00
0.88
Cause
0.00
0.00
0.18
0.35
0.00
0.00
Goal/phenomenon
0.00
1.93
0.35
4.57
0.70
5.45
Identified
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.18
Inducer
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.53
0.00
0.00
Recipient
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.18
0.00
Sayer
0.00
0.00
0.18
0.18
0.00
0.00
Senser
0.00
0.00
0.18
0.00
0.35
0.00
Critical Discourse Analysis
203
Nominalisation is a powerful means of abstraction that may, in certain
contexts, disguise, or make less salient, agents, responsibility and
circumstances. For example, the Guardian text speaks about “the death
of Uday and Qusay” (the end of their lives without indicating the cause)
and “the killing in July of Saddam‟s two sons” (an unmentioned
someone or something caused them to stop living). In its editorial, we
also read: “Uday and Qusay … perish[ed] in a murderous blizzard of
bullets”. Here the instrumental cause of their death is made explicit (i.e.
the large number of something as annoying and unpleasant as bullets),
but there is no direct reference to any trace of the animate agent pulling
the trigger.
The Daily Mirror reports Saddam‟s sons as being “killed in a battle”,
and adds that “Uday and Qusay … died in July guns blazing, after
waging a four-hour-battle with American forces”. Readers see that there
has been a change of state in the patient argument, something natural and
unavoidable. Although we get information about how this took place, the
agent remains unknown. This is explained in terms of the circumstances
of this event (expressed, for instance, in the clause “after waging …”).
The human agency is thus not stated explicitly and the instrumental
causation is expressed indirectly. In some way, such indirectness may
appear to justify what happened: There was a long fight between
opposing groups, one of which is vaguely present; it was in July; bullets
were fired quickly and continuously; and both perished. In the last
scenario, there is something else: Uday and Qusay were dead because
they started this battle and continued it over a period of time. The
American forces only fulfil the role of goal, the Hallidayan term for the
participant affected by (not the agent of) some material process.
The Daily Mail tells that they were “killed after opening fire on an
overwhelming US force which surrounded them in July”, “in a fire-fight
against US forces”, and that they “died in a shoot-out with US troops”. In
the first case, the journalist shows the episode as if Saddam‟s sons had to
be affected necessarily by an agentless action, which eventually caused
their death because it was them who started shooting at the Americans.
In the second case, we only know that someone or something caused
their death in a battle that involved the use of guns rather than bombs or
any other weapon. US forces are merely a circumstance in the whole
event. As for the third, although the supposed agents of their demise are
mentioned indirectly as minor participants, the fact that the journalist
Encarnacion Hidalgo Tenorio
204
prefers the lexical item shoot-out helps imagine a fight in which several
people shot at each other. In other words, the idea of reciprocity is
presented here, in contrast to the previous examples. Furthermore, the
noun troops indicates that there were other people involved in this event,
that the US force was not an abstraction, and that there was some human
agency behind it.
As shown above, the point I have been considering has to do with
avoidance of agency. To die is a material (event) process. It happens to
animate beings, and it happens accidentally or not. If we use this lexeme,
we focus on the affected participant, not on the cause (e.g. an illness,
misadventure), the agent (e.g. living thing acting deliberately or not), the
instrument (e.g. gun, knife, rope, poison) or the circumstances (e.g. in
water, in action) concurring to provoke it. If we prefer the verb to kill, we
refer to a material (action) process that involves an affected goal and an
actor that causes the object‟s death. As for to perish, it means that the
patient dies as a result of an accident or very harsh conditions; these very
hard conditions were the bullets shot by the US troops, against which
they fought to the death, an idea that is celebrated by the newspaper if
compared with Saddam Hussein‟s apparent passivity.
The images resulting from the newspapers‟ construction of the scene
are the following: We know what happened to both (they died), when
(July), where and how (in a battle, in a fire-fight, guns were blazing), and
why (they waged a battle with American forces, they opened fire on a US
force). Sometimes the actor or cause of their deaths is referred to
indirectly as another circumstantial element (waging a four-hour-battle
with American forces, in a fire-fight with US forces) or as the affected
object of their actions (opening fire on a US force). Thus, these
journalists depict Uday and Qusay as responsible for their own deaths,
since they started the attack. Linguistically speaking, the US force is a
contingent participant or suffers Saddam‟s sons‟ actions, but it never
acts. This may have been an unconscious choice. Nevertheless, in one
case the writer adds clarifying contextual information: The US force was
overwhelming. The journalist emphasises that an amount or quantity is
much greater than other amounts or quantities. The situation is perceived
as one in which one side is at a disadvantage. Therefore, the affected
goal changes as well as the notion of who is the patient.
This practical exercise develops some of the main tenets of CDA:
Aim, type of data and analytical approach. Methodologically speaking, I
Critical Discourse Analysis
205
have studied one aspect such as transitivity which is very relevant to
understanding people‟s positioning. This is one way to get to know
which your identity is, and how you see the world and how you perceive
others. To me, the application of this perspective is useful because it
deals with ideologically loaded material systematically. It is made even
more robust by the use of the complementary tool of corpus linguistics,
which has allowed me to scrutinise frequency patterns and made it easier
to discover the traces of what is (and is not) essential in the text, in order
to comprehend better speakers‟ and writers‟ intentions. If the latter avoid
some structures, this may be an indication of their fears and their taboo
areas. If, on the contrary, they prefer some others, this may show they are
worried about or even obsessed with those problems around which their
discourse revolves. Despite the systematicity of this type of approach, I
must agree, however, this is not “a mechanical procedure which
automatically yields „objective‟ interpretation” (Fowler 1986: 68).
Furthermore, Chilton (2004: 111) is right when he says that “labelling
stretches of language as serving strategic functions is an interpretative
act”. All in all, I believe that certain devices lead any researcher to
analogous conclusions, and that certain linguistic patterns have certain
implications other scholars can also examine when replicating similar
experiments. The microanalysis of a text helps to support this point; its
macro-analysis can be used to avoid misjudgement. Everything is
meaningful in language. The selection of one item implies at the same
time the exclusion of some others (Fairclough 1995: 210). In Fowler‟s
words, “[d]ifferences in expression carry ideological distinctions (and
thus differences in representation)” (1986: 4).
Categories such as ideology and power are present in the analysis of
discourse practice (Fairclough 1995: 11). That is something I find
revealing, because representation has to do with power. It is the powerful
that have the chance to represent others (and themselves) in a light they
may find more or less convenient. Metaphorically speaking, it is those
who are powerful that give (or do not give) voice to those represented in
their discourse practices. Their control of the media can allow them to
arrange the ordering of events, and then to obscure or give more
prominence to some participants instead of others.
Encarnacion Hidalgo Tenorio
206
9. Conclusion
CDA is an infant discipline gradually maturing. Curiously, several of its
strengths can be taken simultaneously as the source of its weaknesses.
Some of the exponents of the critical paradigm may themselves be
lacking in a self-critical attitude since CDA has become an established
discipline (Billig 2003). However, its general critical outlook has
encouraged the development of new approaches, in an attempt to answer
new research questions, and allay doubts about its method and theoretical
grounds.
Its inter- and transdisciplinary nature still needs to be carried forward
before it yields fruit. The ambition that CDA can help raise awareness
about the unequal social conditions of minorities makes it a worthy
enterprise. Nevertheless, both proponents and audiences are often
familiar with this asymmetry and usually hold similar views: CDA is
mostly consumed by CDA scholars not by the average woman or man in
the street. Furthermore, despite CDA practitioners‟ activist orientation,
their recent achievements only range from adjustments in the perception
of a particular unjust state of affairs to cosmetic changes in advertising,
news reports or political speeches.
Drawbacks notwithstanding, the adventure of CDA is to look into
how discourses construct participants in communication as individuals
with allegiances to the collective, and to embark on the analysis of the
discursive means by which the world comes into existence. If this finally
may bring increased understanding of social processes and structures,
and ultimately perhaps, increased understanding of effects on social
actors‟ views and actions, CDA must have a role in the social sciences.
Acknowledgements
My warmest thanks to Leanne Bartley, Andrew Blake, Paul Chilton
Graeme Porte, J.C. Pascual and Salvador Valera.
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The purpose of this research is to explore aspects of discourse analysis through Van Dijk's approach to folklore. This folklore contains many educational values, ethics, norms as well as socio-cultural aspects. For the analysis of discourse on folklore, the Van Dijk model, which emphasizes elements of critical discourse, was used (Critical Discourse Analysis). This research is library research by using the naturalistic approach with Van Dijk model analysis. The result of this research was the aspects analyzed of macrostructure and microstructure. The macro structure is thematic and schematic. The element analyzed the essence of the theme of the discourse. That is morality (admirable nature) or “good morality”. In the micro structure analyzed aspects of semantic, syntax, stylictic, and rethoric. In semantic aspect analyzed conceptual meaning, connotative meaning, social meaning, affective meaning, reflective meaning, collocative meaning and thematic meaning.
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This study investigates the persuasive strategies used in seven speeches of King Abdullah II of Jordan delivered before the UN, European Parliament, Islamic Countries Cooperation, and Arab League between 2007 to 2021. The study adopted the persuasive strategies: Intertextuality, Creativity and Metaphor, References, and Circumlocution to uncover how the King employed the rhetorical/persuasive strategies in his speeches. The discourse analysis approach of Fairclough is also adopted to analyze the speeches. The study revealed that King Abdullah II used creativity and metaphors, reference, circumlocution, and intertextuality. He used creativity strategy to highlight reality as it is. Besides, he uses intertextuality to convince the international community of his vision. On the other hand, the King utilizes neutral references (we, our, your, you) in his speeches to avoid impersonalistion. The study concluded that the King successfully used persuasive strategies to convey his vision toward political issues.
Chapter
This article presents the concept of dispositives as it has been introduced by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. The concept will be contrasted with competing approaches from discourse analysis, and it will then be explored in its potential as a basis for empirical analysis. Dispositive analyses provide insights into how discourse, power, and knowledge shape society on a very general macro-level. Instead of linguistic, textual analyses, dispositive analysis helps to re-read the emergence, the development, and, as an example here, the inner composition of academic fields. This article sketches insights from a dispositive perspective into the field of intercultural communication research that is then interpreted as maintaining the dispositive of intercultural communication even if recent debates primarily aim at transcending old cementations of the discipline. The article will close with a discussion of shortcomings of the method that culminate in the challenge of argumentative circularity.
Chapter
This chapter explains the methodological framework of the study that will be carried out in Chaps. 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, focusing on the conceptual and ideological dimensions of discourse. It combines a Foucauldian understanding of discourse with a Deleuzian approach to concepts, a position that then finds operational articulation through a customised palette of methods coming from the broad and variegated family of Discourse Studies. Along the way, insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Cognitive Linguistics, and Critical Discourse Analysis are examined, criticised, re-articulated, and incorporated. The rationale behind these theoretical and methodological choices emerges from the previous discussion on ideology, hegemony, neoliberalism, and critique (Chap. 3), as well as a consideration of the elusive nature of the epistemic object I will be exploring, which subsists in the form of an intertextual discursive formation across different domains of knowledge. As such, this “object” does not reference an existing something, but rather a pattern of recurrence demonstrating a particular way of looking at the world. By reproducing vocabularies and conceptual associations, particular distributions and hierarchies of meaning are instituted. Instead of evaluating their truth or falsity, the aim is to identify their function and operational role—their capability to steer social practices in specific directions.
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It is not difficult to make claims for the academic success of Critical Discourse Analysis. Chouliaraki and Fairclough begin their new book Discourse in Late Modernity with the statement: ‘Critical discourse analysis … has established itself internationally over the past twenty years or so as a field of cross-disciplinary teaching and research which has been widely drawn upon in the social sciences and the humanities (for example, in sociology, geography, history and media studies), and has inspired critical language teaching at various levels and in various domains’ (1999, p. 1). One sign of this success has seen the establishment of the term ‘Critical Discourse Analysis’, together with its abbreviation CDA, to denote a distinct and substantial body of work.
Chapter
Althusser extends Marx's notion of reproduction of the means of production beyond the production system to the Ideological State Apparatues and the Repressive State Apparatuses. The Ideologocial State Apparatuses, especially education, ensure that we are reproduced as subjects of the ruling ideology. "Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence...Ideology has a material existence...always exists in an apparatus, and its practice, or practices" (Althusser developing the notion of ideology)
Book
The first collection to bring together well-known scholars writing from feminist perspectives within Critical Discourse Analysis. The theoretical structure of CDA is illustrated with empirical research from a range of locations (from Europe to Asia; the USA to Australasia) and domains (from parliament to the classroom; the media to the workplace).
Book
This study advances a model for Critical Discourse Analysis which draws on Evolutionary Psychology and Cognitive Linguistics, applied in a critical analysis of immigration discourse. It will be of special interest to students and researchers with which to explore new perspectives in CDA.
Book
This advanced textbook critically reviews a range of theoretical and empirical work on gendered discourses, and explores how gendered discourses can be identified, described and named. It also examines the actual workings of discourses in terms of construction and their potential to 'damage'. For upper-level undergraduates and graduate students in discourse analysis, gender studies, social psychology and media studies.