In this chapter, we first provide a brief 'story' – how it all began; then we pre-sent an overview of some important research agendas in CDA and discuss new challenges for CDA research. Secondly, we discuss the various theoretical and methodological approaches assembled in this volume from a sociological and epistemological perspective. 2 There, we focus mostly on three central and con-stitutive concepts: power, ideology and critique. We also, of course, summarize some of the salient principles which are constitutive of all approaches in CDA. In addition, we mention some important criticism which CDA has been con-fronted with in the past years (see Billig, 2003, 2008; Chilton, 2007; Chilton and Wodak, 2007;Wodak and Cillia, 2006 for an extensive discussion of this issue). The terms Critical Linguistics (CL) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) are often used interchangeably. In fact, recently, the term CDA seems to have been preferred and is being used to denote the theory formerly identified as CL.Therefore, we will continue to use CDA exclusively here (see Anthonissen, 2001; Chilton and Wodak, 2007 for an extensive discussion of these terms and their history). The manifold roots of CDA lie in Rhetoric, Text linguistics, Anthropology, Philosophy, Socio-Psychology, Cognitive Science, Literary Studies and Sociolinguistics, as well as in Applied Linguistics and Pragmatics. Wodak-3795-Ch-01:Wodak-3795-Ch-01.QXP 9/29/2008 4:29 PM Page 1 Nowadays, some scholars prefer the term Critical Discourse Studies (CDS). For example,Teun van Dijk provides us with a broad overview of the field of (C)DS, where one can identify the following developments: between the mid-1960s and the early 1970s, new, closely related disciplines emerged in the humanities and the social sciences. Despite their different disciplinary backgrounds and a great diver-sity of methods and objects of investigation, some parts of the new fields/paradigms/linguistic sub-disciplines of semiotics, pragmatics, psycho-and sociolinguistics, ethnography of speaking, conversation analysis and discourse studies all deal with discourse and have at least seven dimensions in common (see Van Dijk, 2007a;Wodak, 2008a): • an interest in the properties of 'naturally occurring' language use by real language users (instead of a study of abstract language systems and invented examples) • a focus on larger units than isolated words and sentences and, hence, new basic units of analysis: texts, discourses, conversations, speech acts, or communicative events • the extension of linguistics beyond sentence grammar towards a study of action and interaction • the extension to non-verbal (semiotic, multimodal, visual) aspects of interaction and communication: gestures, images, film, the internet, and multimedia • a focus on dynamic (socio)-cognitive or interactional moves and strategies • the study of the functions of (social, cultural, situative and cognitive) contexts of language use • an analysis of a vast number of phenomena of text grammar and language use: coher-ence, anaphora, topics, macrostructures, speech acts, interactions, turn-taking, signs, politeness, argumentation, rhetoric, mental models, and many other aspects of text and discourse.