Discourse and power

Authored by: Adrian Blackledge

The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415551076
eBook ISBN: 9780203809068
Adobe ISBN: 9781136672927


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Research on discourse and power focuses on the ways in which language is central in constituting and reproducing relations of power that result in forms of inequality. This chapter begins by summarizing some of the key studies in this emergent research tradition, focusing on the development of critical discourse analysis (CDA). I also review critical perspectives on research on discourse and power. The chapter goes on to propose that recent studies have paid detailed attention to interactional patterns of language use, as researchers take ethnographic approaches to analysis of discourse and power. The chapter further considers perspectives that engage with the notion of ‘voice’. Data from current research offer exemplification of the concept of ‘voice’ in a brief episode of interactional speech. Here I finally argue that the analysis of voice offers critical insight into processes of discourse and power in contemporary societies, and that such an analysis has great potential to illuminate objects of investigation across subject territories and disciplines.

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