|As can be seen from my introduction
to the concepts and theories of CDA, it has an enormous potential,
(as long as one remains alert to its dangers !). Some examples of
these potential applications are:-
- how the effects of power and ideology in the production of meaning
are obscured, and how dominance acquires stable and natural forms,
it is taken as 'given' and normal to be either dominant or dominated.
- how the breaking of conventions (stable discursive practices)
occurs in acts of creativity (and may even be necessary for creativity)
- how texts are often sites of struggle in that they can show
traces of differing discourses and ideologies contending and struggling
- how in texts, discursive differences are negotiated; they are
caused by differences in power which are themselves in part encoded
in and determined by discourse and by genre.
In particular, one can postulate the following major goals that
are possible with CDA
- The possibility to reconstruct "what someone thought"
when they created a text - this is what I am trying to do here
when I look at UK food policy. The task in its entirety is obviously
impossible, especially as a food policy is a collective thought,
but perhaps it is possible to reconstruct "what the government
thinks about animals" as a first step.
- The opportunity to develop an 'archaeology of thought' in the
way that Foucault has done in some of his books. An example of
this might trace the way famine and plenty have inter-related
over the centuries, and how this has influenced human aspiration
- The chance to look in new ways at what is happening in the world.
For example, there is a new idea that the major force at work
in the world is the spread of the 'managerial discourse' which
is taking over (colonising) in politics, government, the arts,
and many other areas of life.
- Projects like a 'managerial discourse' study might give the
opportunity to question "what really ARE the major forces
at work in the world" and where do they come from, why and
how do they succeed ?
- Similarly, using the model of discourse threads, which seems
to form a non-material but influential level in human affairs,
we can pose questions such as
are the threads made of ?
exactly IS the level where they exist ?
all the threads were described, what would be left ?
threads appear to evolve
why and how does this happen
However, these questions are perhaps too exploratory to be useful
in the toolbox.
This and the previous pages have described the core areas of Critical
Discourse Analysis, which centre around
- Wodak's triangle of power, history and ideology,
- To these, Meyer adds the idea of context
- Then there is van Dijk's triangle of discourse, cognition and
- And also Fairclough's social practices, social order and dominance
Several of these authors coalesce around ideas of power and dominance,
which I will look at in the following pages
Another theme of CDA is the emphasis on language (Halliday), but
it also extends to include semiosis (Fairclough). Scollon extends
CDA even further to include social action and his Mediated Discourse