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CDA is NOT a method of critical discourse analysis

Escrito por Teun A. van Dijk. Publicado en En voz alta

Ten A. van Dijk


Por Teun A. van Dijk
Visiting Professor at the Departament de Traducció i Cièncias del Llenguatge, Universitat Pompeu Fabra


Contrary to popular belief and unfortunate claims of many papers submitted to discourse journals, CDA is not a method of critical discourse analysis. This may sound paradoxical, but I am afraid it isn’t. Think about it. Indeed, what would be the systematic, explicit, detailed, replicable procedure for doing “critical” analysis? There is no such method. Being critical, first of all, is a state of mind, an attitude, a way of dissenting, and many more things, but not an explicit method for the description of the structures or strategies of text and talk. So, in that sense, people who want to practice CDA may be supposed to do so from a perspective of opposition, for instance against power abuse through discourse. Playing with words, then, CDA is DA “with an attitude” as one would say in the USA, that is, with a rebellious attitude of dissent against the symbolic power elites that dominate public discourse, especially in politics, the media and education. In other words, CDA is (any) DA of critical scholars, and hence CDA is rather a social or political movement than a method. Of course, the kind of DA they do, should be adequate to realize their critical goals, namely to analyze and denounce domination and social inequality.