Discourse Analysis

9913 words - 40 pages

. Principles of critical discourse analysis Teun A. van Dijk UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM ____________________________________________________ ABSTRACT. This paper discusses some principles of critical discourse analy- sis, such as the explicit sociopolitical stance of discourse analysts, and a focus on dominance relations by elite groups and institutions as they are being enacted, legitimated or otherwise reproduced by text and talk. One of the crucial elements of this analysis of the relations between power and discourse is the patterns of access to (public) discourse for different social groups. Theoretically it is shown that in order to be able to relate power and discourse in an explicit way, we need the cognitive interface of models. knowledge, attitudes and ideologies and other social represen- tations of the social mind, which also relate the individual and the social, and the micro- and the macro-levels of social structure. Finally, the argu- ment is illustrated with an analysis of parliamentary debates about ethnic affairs. KEY WORDS: access, critical discourse analysis, discourse, dominance, Great Britain, parliamentary debates. power, racism, social cognition, text ____________________________________________________ 1. INTRODUCTION This paper discusses some principles, aims and criteria of a critical dis- course analysis (CDA). It tries to answer (critical) questions such as What is critical discourse analysis (anyway) ? , How is it different from other types of discourse analysis? , What are its aims, special methods, and especially what is its theoretical foundation? Also, it acknowledges the need to examine, in rather practical terms. how one goes about doing a critical analysis of text and talk. In general, the answers to such questions presuppose a study of the relations between discourse, power, dominance, social inequality and the position of the discourse analyst in such social relationships. Since this is a complex, multidisciplinary and as vet underdeveloped domain of study, which one may call sociopolitical discourse analysis , only the most relevant dimensions of this domain can be addressed here. Although there are many directions in the study and critique of social inequality, the way we approach these questions and dimensions is by focusing on the role of discourse in the (re)production and challenge of dominance. Dominance is defined here as the exercise of social power by _________________________ DISCOURSE & SOCIETY � 1993 SAGE (London. Newbury Park and New Delhi), vol. 4(2): 249- 283

2. 250 DISCOURSE & SOCIETY elites, institutions or groups, that results in social inequality, including political, cultural, class, ethnic, racial and gender inequality. This repro- duction process may involve such different modes of discourse power relations as the more or less direct or overt support. enactment, represen- tation, legitimation, denial, mitigation or concealment of dominance, among others. More...

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