Example Research: Critical Discourse Analysis Essay

Words: 9518
Pages: 39

18 Critical Discourse Analysis

0 Introduction: What Is Critical Discourse Analysis?
Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context. With such dissident research, critical discourse analysts take explicit position, and thus want to understand, expose, and ultimately resist social inequality. Some of the tenets of CDA can already be found in the critical theory of the Frankfurt School before the Second World War (Agger 1992b; Rasmussen 1996). Its current focus on language and discourse was initiated with the "critical
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1.1 Macro vs. micro
Language use, discourse, verbal interaction, and communication belong to the microlevel of the social order. Power, dominance, and inequality between social groups are typically terms that belong to a macrolevel of analysis. This means that CDA has to theoretically bridge the well-known "gap" between micro and macro approaches, which is of course a distinction that is a sociological construct in its own right (Alexander et al. 1987; Knorr-Cetina and Cicourel 1981). In everyday interaction and experience the macro- and microlevel (and intermediary "mesolevels") form one unified whole. For instance, a racist speech in parliament is a discourse at the microlevel of social interaction in the specific situation of a debate, but at the same time may enact or be a constituent part of legislation or the reproduction of racism at the macrolevel. There are several ways to analyze and bridge these levels, and thus to arrive at a unified critical analysis: Members–groups: Language users-engage in discourse as members of (several) social groups, organizations, or institutions; and conversely, groups thus may act "by" their members. 2 Actions–process: Social acts of individual actors are thus constituent parts of group actions and social processes, such as legislation, newsmaking, or the reproduction of racism. 3 Context–social structure: Situations of discursive interaction are similarly part or constitutive of social structure; for example, a press conference