r historical and/or social contexts
Table 2-1 shows that “discourse” is used in, at least, three major ways: first, as language above sentence level (e.g. in linguistics and philosophy), second, language in use (e.g. in Brown & Yule, 1983; Oxford Dictionary and Literary Dictionary), and third, language as “it reflects social reality” (e.g. Fairclough & Wodak, 1997; Foucault cited in van Leeuwen, 2008). Of course, these three notions overlap to some extent. To detail the subject, Oxford Dictionary, for example, defines it as “the use of language in speech and writing in order to produce meaning; language that is studied, usually in order to see how the different parts of a text are connected”. Brown and Yule (1983), much the same as Oxford Dictionary outline discourse as “language in use” (as cited in Johnstone, 2008, p. xiii), and Foucault, the thinker who had the most obvious influence on CDA, believes discourse is the “semantic constructions of specific aspects of reality that serve the interests of particular historical and/or social contexts,” (as cited in van Leeuwen, 2008, p. vii). Discourse forwarded by Fairclough and Wodak (1997) is almost the same: language as social practice (Apart from the fact that Fairclough (2001a) distinguishes between Discourse and discourses in the sense that the former constitutes the latter.). Fairclough, adopting Foucaultian definition of discourse, believes different ‘social actors’ represent events in various ways, with different discourses (for more information about social actor see Fairclough, 2004). And more specifically, different discourses are “particular ways of representing aspects of the world.” (Fairclough, as cited in Wodak & Chilton, 2005). Lilie Chouliaraki (1998), another CDA scholar believes discourse is a set of alternatives from which language users choose what they prefer. Blommaert (2005), on the other hand, believes discourse is “all forms of meaningful semiotic human activity,” including conversations, texts, images or any other multimedia, “seen in connection with social, cultural, and historical patterns and developments of use” (p. 2). And van Dijk takes a socio-cognitive perspective and sees discourse as “a communicative event”, interaction including language as well as other media (as cited in Wodak & Meyer, 2001, p. 20). All in all, the shared premise among all discourse scholars is that there is a close relationship between language use and “struggles for power” and that “the power of language can help making personal goals” (Fairclough, 1996). Among the manifold definitions above, we deal mostly with Chouliaraki’s (1998) discourse; a set of alternatives from which language users choose what they prefer. The arrangement of any portrayal of a particular reality is “necessarily selective”, which means, discourse participants decide on the inclusion/exclusion of aspects of the reality and their arrangement (Hall, 1997, as cited in Barker & Galasinski, 2001).
2-3What is Critical Discourse Analysis?
According to Teun van Dijk (1993) critical discourse analysts aim at understanding, exposing, and resisting social inequality. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is an approach for identifying the hidden ideologies in texts to unveil the underlying ideological biases and therefore the exercise of power in texts (Widdoson, 2000). Fairclough (1995) use the term to refer to the theories concerned with criticizing ideologies and the impact asserted through domination.
The idea of critical linguistics, as the mother of CDA, was developed based on Halliday’s Systemic functional linguistics (SFL) in the 1970s by a group of linguists and literary theorists at the University of East Anglia. SFL as a branch of grammar focuses on the importance of social context in language production and development. CDA in Faircloughean definition is as follows (1995, p.132-133):
“By critical discourse analysis I mean discourse analysis which aims to systematically explore often opaque relationships of causality and determination between (a) discursive practices, events and texts, and (b) wider social and cultural structures, relations and processes; to investigate how such practices, events and texts arise out of and are ideologically shaped by relations of power and struggles over power; and to explore how the opacity of these relationships between discourse and society is itself a factor securing power and hegemony.”
In recent years, discourse issues have become the locus of interest by many professionals from a variety of disciplines. Discourse is used by a variety of professionals such as historians, business institutions, lawyers, politicians and medical professionals for investigating the social problems connected to their work. Van Dijk (1993) as a key scholar in the field of CDA with a social approach to discourse, has chosen the term Critical Discourse Studies (CDS) which includes the analysis of text and speech in all disciplines of the humanities and social sciences.
2-4 How ‘CDA Group’ was formed
The CDA as a network of researchers was developed in the early 1990s, by a small symposium in Amsterdam held in January 1991 (Wodak and Meyer, 2009). The founders of the symposium were key scholars like Teun van Dijk, Norman Fairclough, Gunther Kress, Theo van Leeuwen and Ruth Wodak who spent two days together to discuss and negotiate upon CDA methods and theories. The results of these meetings were different approaches to CDA. But, how different they were, they had some features in common. In general, CDA as a paradigm or school is characterized by a number of principles: for example, all approaches are problem-oriented, and thus necessarily interdisciplinary and eclectic. CDA approaches are characterized by their interests in identifying the ideologies and power investigating the semiotic data which includes written, spoken or visual material.
CDA scholars try to make their own positions and interests clear while retaining their respective scientific methodologies and while remaining self-reflective of their own research process. The publication of Van Dijk’s journal Discourse and Society (1990) as well as several books which were completely published simultaneously were the start of the CDA network.
2-5 General principles of CDA
There is a common belief among scholars that CDA cannot be classified as a single method but is viewed as an approach consisting of different methods for studying the relationship between language and social context.
The prominent scholars of the field each have their own principles for CDA. But the most cited principles are Fairclough and Wodak’s (1997), eight principles summarized as follows:
• CDA addresses social problems. It focuses on language and language use as well as linguistic characteristics of “social and cultural processes”. CDA is an endeavor elucidating hidden power relations in texts (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997, p. 268).
• Power relations are discursive, i.e. CDA explains how social relations of power are practiced and negotiated in discourse.
• Discourse comprises society and culture, i.e. every piece of language use “makes its own contribution to reproducing and transforming society and culture, including relations of power” (Fairclough, 1992, p. 63).
• Discourse does ideological work, i.e. ideologies are produced through discourse (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997).
• Discourse is history. Discourses, therefore, can only be interpreted with regard to their historical context (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997).
• The link between text and society is mediated and CDA, therefore, makes connections between sociocultural processes and structures on the one hand and properties of texts on the other (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997).
• CDA is interpretative and explanatory. These interpretations and explanations are “dynamic and open” and are under the influence of new readings and new contextual information (Wei, 2006). This process is referred to by Meyer as a hermeneutic process (see Meye
• CDA, therefore, is a form of social action which aims at revealing “opaqueness and power relations” and attempts to change the communicative and “socio-political” practices (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997).
2-6 Directions in CDA
Three key scholars have contributed a lot to the field of CDA. These scholars include: van Dijk, Wodak and Fairclough. Since the field is new and its main pillars of it are not yet specified, many scholars have tried to identify the elements of CDA and provide methods for analyzing discourse critically. The most noticeable works are the methodologies provided by van Dijk (2005, 1997, 2001), Wodak and Meyer (2001), Fairclough (1992, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2006), Wodak (1996, 2001), Chouliaraki and Fairclough (1999), Scollon (1998, 1999, 2003), Gee (1999, 2005) and van Leeuwen (1993, 1995, 1996) (as cited in Wei, 2006).The most common feature shared by all methods is that they all combine theories and models of text analysis with political and sociocultural theories. The slight difference here is that some scholars rely on the linguistic analysis of texts (e.g. see Fairclough, 2001 and Wodak, 1996), and some others, like Scollon (1997, 1998) focus more on the communication in the media, rather than the grammatical perspective. The model proposed by van Dijk (1997), on the other hand, is based on four categories: “action, context, power and ideology”. The methods proposed by Hunston and Sinclair (2000), Hunston and Thompson (2000) and Hyland (2004, 2005, 2006) differ from previous methodologies in that they provide non-functional approaches to analyzing the language of evaluation in its “social and rhetorical dimensions.” Below we will provide some detail about their approach toward CDA.
2-6-1 Fairclough: Three-Dimensional Model of Discourse
The CDA model proposed by Fairclough (1989, 1995) and adopted by many scholars comprises of three analysis processes which are related to three inter-related dimensions of discourse. These three dimensions are:
1. The object of analysis which includes verbal, visual or verbal and visual texts.
2. The processes for producing and receiving the object which includes writing, speaking, designing and reading, listening, and viewing by human subjects.
3. The socio-historical circumstances which rule the above mentioned processes.
Fairclough (1995) argues that each of above dimensions needs a different kind of analysis as follows:
1. Text analysis (description: is the stage which is concerned with the formal properties of the text).
2. Processing analysis (interpretation: is concerned with the relationship between text and interaction – with considering the text as a product of a process of production, and as a resource in the process of interpretation…)
3. Social analysis (explanation: is concerned with the relationship between interaction and social context – with the social determination of the processes of production and interpretation, and their social effects.) (pp. 26-27).
The approach proposed by Fairclough is useful because it focuses on the signifiers forming the text, the specific linguistic selections in the text, their juxtapositioning, their sequencing, and their layout and so on. However, we need to take into the account the fact that these selections are determined historically and are related to “the conditions of possibility of that utterance” (Fairclough, 1995, p. 28). That is, texts are instantiations of socially regulated discourses and that production and reception processes are constrained by social factors. Fairclough’s approach to CDA is so useful because of providing manifold points of analytic entry. Figure 2-1 depicts Fairclough’s (1989, 1995) model for CDA. The model consists of three analytical processes which are connected to three