Ruth Wodak, Professor in Discourse Studies
Department of Linguistics and English Language
FEMINIST CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS: NEW PERSPECTIVES FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY GENDER STUDIES
Outline of Lecture:
1. Introducing FCDA
2. Implications for interdisciplinary Gender Studies
3. Two examples: “Voices from ‘below’ and ‘above’ – Identity Politics and the Discourse-Historical Approach in CDA 4. Analyzing female leadership:
Interviews with female managers, architects,
MEPs 5. “Voices of Migrants” in EU countries
Programme of CDA (Principles) (Wodak 2001):
1) The approach is interdisciplinary. Problems in our societies are too complex to be studied from one perspective. This entails different dimensions of interdisciplinarity: theories draw on neighbouring disciplines and try to integrate other/new theories. Teamwork consists of different researchers from different traditionally defined disciplines working together. Lastly, also the methodologies are adapted to the data under investigation. 2) The approach is problem-oriented. Social problems are the items of research, such as “racism, identity, gender, social change”, which, of course, are and could be studied from manifold perspectives. The CDA dimension, discourse and text-analysis, is one of many possible approaches. 3) The theories as well as the methodologies are usually eclectic; i.e., theories and methods are integrated which are adequate in understanding and explaining the object under investigation. 4) Research in CDA should incorporate fieldwork and ethnography to explore the object under investigation (study from the inside) as a precondition for any further analysis and theorizing. This approach enables to avoid to `”fit the data to illustrate a theory”. Rather, we deal with bottom–up and top- down approaches at the same time. 5) The approach is abductive and retroductive: a constant movement back and forth between theory and empirical data is necessary. This is a pre requisite for principle 4. 6) Multiple genres and multiple public spaces should be studied, thus both intertextual and interdiscursive relationships. Recontextualization is the most important process in connecting genres as well as topics and arguments (topoi). 7) The historical context should be explicitly considered and integrated into the interpretation of discourses and texts. The notion of “change” (see principle 6) has become inherent to the study of text and discourse; the concept of “recontextualization” is relevant to the analysis of social change. 8) The categories and tools for the analysis are defined according to all these steps and procedures as well as to the specific problem under investigation. This entails some eclecticism, as well as pragmatism. Different approaches in CDA use different grammatical theories, although many apply Systemic Functional Linguistics in some way or other. 9) The problem-oriented approach entails the use and testing of middle-range theories. “Grand Theories” result in big gaps between structure/context and linguistic realizations (although some gaps must stay unbridgeable). 10) Practice and application are aimed at. The results should be made available to experts in different fields and, as a second step, be applied, with the goal of changing certain discursive and social practices.
Thus, CDA might be defined as fundamentally interested in analyzing opaque as well as transparent structural relationships of dominance, discrimination, power and control as manifested in language. In other words, CDA aims to investigate critically social inequality as it is expressed, constituted, legitimized etc. by language use (or in discourse). Most critical discourse analysts would thus endorse Habermas' claim that...
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