In the course of the last years, the world has plunged from one crisis to another – from the financial crisis in 2008/09 and the refugee crisis (or migration crisis or solidarity crisis) in 2015, to the corona crisis or health crisis since 2020, to today’s energy crisis and information crisis. Of course, crises have also existed beforehand – let’s just think of the oil crisis in the middle of the last century, the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, and many more. All the crises, and also the current war in Ukraine (sometimes even phrased as ”Ukraine crisis”!) are always fought out also on a discursive level.
This seminar is drafted as an introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis or Critical Discourse Studies in the field of linguistics. 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. By ‘critical’ discourse analysis, [Fairclough] mean[s] 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 (1993: 135).
In this seminar, we will consider language as a social practice and investigate language use as both socially shaped and also socially shaping. Particular focus is laid on the analysis of discursive practices which have emerged in the context of the various current crises and on how crises are constructed discursively.
Barker, Chris (2001): Cultural Studies and Discourse Analysis: A Dialogue on Language and Identity. London: Sage
Fairclough, Norman (1989): Language and Power. Harlow: Addison Wesley Longman
Leeuwen, Theo van (2008): Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford UP.
Wodak, Ruth (2009): Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Wodak, Ruth (2020): The Politics of Fear: The Shameless Normalization of Far-Right Discourse. 2nd ed. London: Sage.
Young, Lynne, and Bridgit Fitzgerald (2017): The Power of Language. How Discourse Influences Society. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing.
Additional readings assigned in class.