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Jaffer Sheyholislami - 1 - http://www.carleton.ca/~jsheyhol/cda.htm Critical Discourse Analysis i Jaffer Sheyholislami jsheyhol@connectmail.carleton.ca According to van Dijk (1998a) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is a field that is concerned with studying and analyzing written and spoken texts to reveal the discursive sources of power, dominance, inequality and bias. It examines how these discursive sources are maintained and reproduced within specific social, political and historical contexts. In a similar vein, Fairclough (1993) defines CDA as 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. (p. 135) To put it simply, CDA aims at making transparent the connections between discourse practices, social practices, and social structures, connections that might be opaque to the layperson. Evolution of CDA In the late 1970s, Critical Linguistics was developed by a group of linguists and literary theorists at the University of East Anglia (Fowler et. al., 1979; Kress & Hodge, 1979). Their approach was based on Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). CL practitioners such as Trew (1979a, p. 155) aimed at "isolating ideology in discourse" and showing "how ideology and ideological processes are manifested as systems of linguistic characteristics and processes." This aim was pursued by developing CL's analytical tools (Fowler et al., 1979; Fowler, 1991) based on SFL. Following Halliday, these CL practitioners view language in use as simultaneously performing three functions: ideational, interpersonal, and textual functions. According to Fowler (1991, p. 71), and Fairclough (1995b, p. 25), whereas the ideational function refers to the experience of the speakers of the world and its phenomena, the interpersonal function embodies the insertion of speakers' own attitudes and evaluations about the phenomena in question, and establishing a relationship between speakers and listeners. Instrumental to these two functions is the textual function. It is through the textual function of language that speakers are able to produce texts that are understood by listeners. It is an enabling function connecting discourse to the co-text and con-text in which it occurs. Halliday's view of language as a "social act" is central to many of CDA's practitioners (Chouliaraki & Fairclough, 1999; Fairclough, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995b, 1995a; Fowler et al., 1979; Fowler, 1991; Hodge & Kress, 1979). According to Fowler et al. (1979), CL, like sociolinguistics, asserts that, "there are strong and pervasive connections between Jaffer Sheyholislami ... View Full Document

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