LECTURE 6: CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS
Critical DiscourseAnalysis (CDA)
- Primary Focus of Study: “The way social power abuse, dominance, power abuse, and
inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political
context” (Van Dijk, 2001).
- Focus is on social power of groups and institutions where power is defined in terms of control.
- Take a position and therefore at least resist social inequality.
Main Tenets of Critical DiscourseAnalysis (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997, 271-80).
1. CDAaddresses social problems (dominance).
2. Power relations are discursive
- How do more powerful groups control public discourse?
- How does elite discourse control the minds (opinion and knowledge) and actions of less
powerful groups? What are the social consequences of such control?
A) Control of Public Discourse
- Most people only have control over talk with friends, family, and workmates.
- People are also passive targets of talk/text with police, tax people, bosses (people in
- Control of talk includes macro things like time, place, event, opinions and micro like who
controls the type of speech acts, turns, volume.
B) Mind Control – What makes people susceptible or vulnerable to mind control?
- They want to accept beliefs from those they see as credible (this is subjective).
- Obligation to be recipients (jobs, education, children, upbringing).
- May not have the knowledge (hence the discourse) to challenge the information they are