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Critical discourse analysis
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of texts, which views "language as a form of social practice" (Fairclough 1989: 20) and attempts "to unpack the ideological underpinnings of discourse that have become so naturalized over time that we begin to treat them as common, acceptable and natural features of discourse" (Teo 2000).
Norman Fairclough's books, Language and Power (1989) and Critical Discourse Analysis (1995), articulate a three-dimensional framework for studying discourse, "where the aim is to map three separate forms of analysis onto one another: analysis of (spoken or written) language texts, analysis of discourse practice (processes of text production, distribution and consumption) and analysis of discursive events as instances of sociocultural practice" (1995: 2).
Critical discourse analysis is founded on the unequal access to linguistic and social resources, resources that are controlled institutionally. The patterns of access to discourse and communicative events is one essential element for CDA. In terms of method, CDA can generally be described as hyper-linguistic or supra-linguistic, in that practitioners who use CDA consider the larger discourse context or the meaning that lies beyond the grammatical structure. This includes consideration of the political, and even the economic, context of language usage and production.
In addition to linguistic theory, the approach draws from social theory — and contributions from Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Jürgen Habermas, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu — in order to examine ideologies and power relations involved in discourse. Fairclough notes "that language connects with the social through being the primary domain of ideology, and through being both a site of, and a stake in, struggles for power" (1989: 15).
Notable researchers include Norman Fairclough, Paul Chilton , Teun van Dijk , Christina Schäffner , Ruth Wodak , Peter Teo , Roger Fowler , Gunther Kress , Mary Talbot , and Robert Hodge .
- Fairclough, Norman. 1989. Language and Power. Harlow: Longman Group UK Limited.
- Fairclough, Norman. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis. Harlow: Longman Group UK Limited.
- Talbot, Mary, Karen Atkinson and David Atkinson. 2003. Language and Power in the Modern World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd.
- Teo, Peter. 2000. Racism in the news: a Critical Discourse Analysis of news reporting in two Australian newspapers. Discourse and Society, 11: 1, 7-49. [Cited in Talbot, Atkinson and Atkinson 2003: 36.]
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