Posts tagged ‘CDA’

28 May 2011

Niggemeier. Spiegel. Sex. CDA.

Once again, Stefan Niggemeier presents a fast, enertaining, thoroughly critical discourse analysis, including metaphor analysis, chronological analogies, three-part lists, etc. This time of a Spiegel article on Strauss-Kahn: Spiegel. Sex. Power. Bullshit.

24 May 2011

Journalism and the Political

New book announcement:
Macgilchrist, Felicitas (2011): Journalism and the Political: Discursive tensions in news coverage of Russia. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture, Vol. 40) (full price; slightly less expensive)

Summary: Journalism is often thought of as the ‘fourth estate’ of democracy. This book suggests that journalism plays a more radical role in politics, and explores new ways of thinking about news media discourse. It develops an approach to investigating both hegemonic discourse and discursive fissures, inconsistencies and tensions. By analysing international news coverage of post-Soviet Russia, including the Beslan hostage-taking, Gazprom, Litvinenko and human rights issues, it demonstrates the (re)production of the ‘common-sense’ social order in which one particular area of the world is more developed, civilized and democratic than other areas. However, drawing on Laclau, Mouffe and other post-foundational thinkers, it also suggests that journalism is precisely the site where the instability of this global social order becomes visible. The book should be of interest to scholars of discourse analysis, journalism and communication studies, cultural studies and political science, and to anyone interested in ‘positive’ discourse analysis and practical counter-discursive strategies.

The thing is, critical discourse analysis has done a huge amount to draw attention to the role of language, and other forms of semiosis, in shaping what counts as politics, as acceptable, as thinkable and “normal”, i.e in what becomes (however temporarily ad precariously) hegemonic. But, how do we now respond to for instance Latour’s call to re-arm? Using very military metaphors, he worries that the critical spirit, now ensnared in deconstruction, may no longer be aligned to the right target.

To remain in the metaphorical atmosphere of the time, military experts constantly revise their strategic doctrines, their contingency plans, the size, direction, technology of their projectiles, of their smart bombs, of their missiles: I wonder why we, we alone, would be saved from those sort of revisions. It does not seem to me that we have been as quick, in academe, to prepare ourselves for new threats, new dangers, new tasks, new targets. Are we not like those mechanical toys that endlessly continue to do the same gesture when everything else has changed around them? Would it not be rather terrible if we were still training young kids–yes, young recruits, young cadets–for wars that cannot be thought, for fighting enemies long gone, for conquering territories that no longer exist and leaving them ill-equipped in the face of threats we have not anticipated, for which we are so thoroughly disarmed? (Latour, Bruno. 2004. “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry 30(2): 225-48.)

Journalism and the Political is one attempt to retool. It uses a pinch of deconstruction, a splash of CDA and a dash of (other) post-foundational political/cultural theories to explore the fissures and gaps in what seems to be hegemonic discourse. Perhaps a critical spirit, which forces these fissures into the foreground, can widen the gaps, target new threats, and broaden new possibilities?

7 March 2009


Another term for the glossary: Ecolinguistics. And a two day symposium on current trands and developments in Ecolinguistics: The Ecology of Science is to be held on 11 and 12 June 2009 at the University of Southern Denmark (Odense).

Symposium on Ecolinguistics: The Ecology of Science

Call for Papers. Deadline: 18 Apr 2009

Ecolinguistics emerged in the 1990’s as a new paradigm of linguistic research which emphasises the ecological context in which societies are embedded. Einar Haugen’s “The Ecology of Language” and Michael Halliday’s 1990 work “New ways of Meaning: the challenge to applied linguistics” are often credited as a seminal works which provided the stimulus for linguists to consider the ecological context and consequences of language.

Among other things, the challenge that Haugen, Halliday and others put forward was to make linguistics relevant to the issues and concerns of the 21st century such as the the widespread destruction of ecosystems and the loss of languages. Since Haugen’s and Halliday’s initial comments, the field of Ecolinguistics has developed considerably, especially in Europe with a working group “Human  Ecology and Language” and symposia held in Austria and Germany. The discipline of Ecolinguistics is divided into two main branches: eco-critical discourse analysis and the ecology of languages. However, Ecolinguistics is still about to find its own home but it holds an interdisciplinary potential with academic subjects such as cultural geography, environmental history, eco-feminism, cultural studies, anthropology, eco-psychology and social ecology.

The aim of the symposium is to trace and merge current and new trends and developments in Ecolinguistics in order to explore avenues for future research.

Please submit tiles and an abstract for 20 minutes presentations to Jørgen Bang

25 February 2009

NDSU and discourse theory

Fascinating glimpse into non-transparent discourse on “Composition Theory: Me, Thou, Us and Nobody”. It seems to be the course blog for a composition class at North Dakota State University. And of course, since the participants are reacting to readings and discussions they are having, it is a perfect example of a “long conversation” (Janet Maybin) from which I am excluded.

They are currently encountering discourse theory, and I am fascinated by their posts, which in addition to (i) their intrinsic interest, (ii) the successful detective feeling I get when I manage to work out what issue is at hand, and (iii) the feeling of illicitness my reading evokes, illustrate once more that “discourse theory” can have 100 meanings for 100 different people.

The class is not, as far as I can tell, engaging in Laclau and Mouffe’s poststructuralist discourse theory, nor in Habermas. Perhaps CDA, though? And I’d bet on James Paul Gee.

21 February 2009

Critique: An interdisciplinary day conference

An interdisciplinary day conference critiquing the notion of Critique is being held on 26th June 2009 at the Dept of Social Sciences, Loughborough University. Key speakers are Michael Billig, Paul Chilton, Lilie Chouliaraki and Andrew Sayer.

Critique and being critical are key notions across the social sciences and humanities, but they are rarely subject to discussion and examination. What do we mean by ‘critique’? What does it mean to be ‘critical’? Despite being central to the whole approach to language and semiosis advanced by CDA scholars, until recently, this key concept has received surprisingly little (critical) attention and explication. This comparative silence has prompted a variety of scholars – both sympathetic and antagonistic to CDA as an analytic approach – to fill this gap with a variety of interpretive possibilities.

These and other issues will be addressed at the Critique day conference – the latest in a biannual series of events organised by an informal international grouping of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) scholars.

CDA is a heterogeneous and multidisciplinary approach to the examination of the role of language and semiosis in social life, and the speakers have been chosen with this heterogeneity in mind. The day conference will host four speakers from cognate academic disciplines: sociology, social psychology, linguistics and media studies. Each speaker will summarise their approach to critical analysis and provide an account of the enduring importance of ‘being critical’ in social research. The advantage of limiting the day to four keynote speakers in this way means that we maximise time for questions, discussion (and critique!), and identify useful parallels and potential areas of cross-fertilisation from the complementary disciplinary approaches.

Our confirmed speakers:

  • Professor Michael Billig, Professor of Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University: ‘The language of critique’
  • Professor Paul Chilton, Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University: ‘Critical perspectives’
  • Professor Lilie Chouliaraki, Professor of Media and Communications, Department of Media, London School of Economics: ‘Critique as Phronesis: Ethics and the Critical Analysis of Discourse’
  • Professor Andrew Sayer, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University: ‘What is critical about critical social science?’

Registration costs:critique-online_003
£20.00 Academic and academic related staff
£10.00 Students and researchers

Places are limited, so early registration is recommended.

Please email for a registration form.

…pic from inkygirl

17 February 2009

Media Analysis in Education

Nice overview in The Blog of Eckhoff on critical theories for analysing media which he’s tried out with his school students. He takes in semiotics, feminist and post-colonial approaches, rhetorical/audience studies and critical discourse analysis (CDA). I’m liking this quote:

I think it is important for us as educators to hit CDA theory well with our students so that they understand the importance of code switching and when it is appropriate to use one set of discourse rules over another depending upon the situation or text presented to them.

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29 October 2008

CDA in Sydney Morning Herald

Responding to the use of the passive in The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Last koala habitats get the chop’ story, a reader sent in the following letter:

Incident of the passive verb

The article “Last koala habitats get the chop” (, October 28) refers to the police issuing “a warning against violent protests, in light of recent logging-related incidents in Tasmania, which saw an activist’s car smashed”. Please get rid of that passive verb. It was loggers who took a sledgehammer to a car with an activist inside it – the incident saw nothing.

Naomi Blackburn Darlinghurst

Critical Discourse Analysis in action.

Via John Knox.