Critical Discourse Analysis

Topics: Sociology, Discourse, Linguistics Pages: 7 (2479 words) Published: April 1, 2013
Jan blommaert and Chris Bulcaen makes a brief introduction to the study of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). CDA intends to use social-theoretical method in discourse analysis and is primarily linguistically based (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.447). It intends to analyze the structural relationships of dominance, discrimination, power and control through a textual study (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.448). Based on the assumption that social discourse is constructed and socially conditioned, CDA explores the power dynamics in this process. According to Fairclough, CDA analysis can be divided into three-dimensions: first, discours-as-text which analyzes the textual linguistic elements as concrete instances of discourse; second, discourse-as-discursive-practice, especially focusing on discourse processes like speech act, coherence and intertexuality; third, discourse-as-social-practice which examines the effects and the hegemonic process in the discourse (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.448-9). While both the second and the third dimension consider the arrangement of text elements or quotes as intertexuality, the second dimension makes the interaction between text and context visible and the third dimension makes the discursive power dynamic visible as well. Moreover, they point out that CDA aims to undertake a social responsibility to correct particular discourses for “change, empowerment, and practice-orientedness” (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.449). Because of this, CDA pay large attention to social topics and works on two main directions: power and ideology, and change of the structuralist determinism (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.452). Although it ambitiously put such great emphasis on social phenomena on a macro level, as it is mentioned that those issues are usually bound by a larger social context and are conditioned in a social structure, the effort to correct particular social discourse must be inevitably involved a social structural transformation. However, the social structural transformation cannot be achieved by any discourse analysis alone as it relies on the transformation of cultural industry and economic structures as well. Thus even from a theoretical level, CDA’s effort can only be achieved when it goes hand in hand with a wider range of studies. As Blommaert and Bulcaen argue that “CDA should be situated within a wider panorama of common concerns, questions, and approached developing among a much wider scholarly community” (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.460). They notice the absence of the discussion on the production, distribution and managing process of texts under political economic conditions. Furthermore, Critiques of CDA also question the validity of the interpretation of CDA whether the analyst is able to represent the average consumer of the text (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.455). The central critique here is the deterministic view of human agency and the objectivity of CDA analysis (Blommaet &ump; Bulcaen, 2000, p.455). Beginning with an introduction of CDA, the following decomposition analysis and media discourse analysis can both be understood as complementary to discourse studies. Decomposition analysis fills the gap of the lack of study on the influence of narratives of group on relationships between different social practices and patterns of resistance. Media discourse analysis makes an attempt to incorporate audience opinion into the whole discourse process to avoid deterministic view of human agency.

Decomposition Analysis
Brian Steensland proposed a decomposition analysis in his research Why do Policy Frames Change? Actor-Idea Coevolution in Debate over Welfare Reform, which allows for a longitudinal study of the transformation in political frames. Steensland (2008) first points out that policy framing as an important tool shaping public opinion limit the political discourse by “defining the range of relevant problems and by providing the fundamental...
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