Critical Discourse Analysis Fairclough | What is Critical Discourse Analysis
Who is Norman Fairclough?
Norman Fairclough was born in 1941 and is a professor of linguistics at Lancaster University in England. Fairclough is one of the founders of critical discourse analysis(CDA) applied to sociolinguistics, which is concerned with how power is exercised through language. Critical discourse analysis is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of discourse that views language as a form of social practice.
What is Critical Discourse Analysis?
Critical discourse analysis can be defined as an interdisciplinary approach for critically describing, interpreting, and explaining spoken or written language related to its social context. Discourse analysis rests on the idea that the way we use language is purposeful, regardless of whether discursive choices are conscious or unconscious.
Norman Fairclough Critical discourse analysis asserts that language, texts, and communication should always be considered in their social context; they both shape and are informed by wider social processes.
When doing critical discourse analysis, you can focus on the following;
- The effects and purpose of different language types.
- How values and assumptions are communicated.
- Cultural norms, rules, and beliefs in communication.
- How the used language relates to its historical, social, and political context
Fairclough Three Dimensional Model in Critical Discourse Analysis.
Norman Fairclough assumes that any case of language is a communicative event. He has developed a model for critical discourse analysis. The model consists of three categories this model called dimensions. The three dimensions may be summarized as follows.
Fairclough Text Analysis
Text can be speech writing images or a mixture of all three forms of Communication. We call this an analysis at the word level.
Fairclough Discursive Practice
The second dimension is called discursive practice. The discursive practice involves the production of texts or the constitution of texts. Here, the analysis takes place at the next level.
Fairclough Social Practice
The third and last dimension is called social practice.
Social practice is about the standards of society or the organization in effect, social structures. Here, it is an analysis of what we call the norm level.
Critical Discourse Analysis Fairclough Theory
Fairclough’s analytical approach assumes that language helps create change and can be used to change behavior. Language becomes a powerful tool. This is what is meant by discourse analysis.
We look at some examples of the Fairclough CDA three dimensions.
Dimension 1- Fairclough Text Analysis
The first dimension is called text, and Text is the collection of words and characters that we choose when we write or speak.
Text & Attitudes: By choosing certain words, we show our attitude to the subject.
- My neighbor was an old witch.
- My neighbor was an old woman.
- My neighbor was an old lady.
In the choice of a witch, woman, or lady, I express an attitude towards the neighbor. When we choose our words, we express an attitude.
Whether a person is a terrorist or a freedom fighter depends on our view of the action that has taken place.
Discourse is about language as a community. The words we choose make us feel that we are part of a community.
A person who is from a different point of origin. For example, one group, be a stranger, another group of foreigners, and a third group, be refugees.
Discourse analysis is about text analysis and that any text contains interpretations.
Dimension 2: Fairclough Discursive Practice
By critical discourse analysis, we understand that language can be a bearer of change.
Composition of Words: The words we use and the way we compose our sentences are of importance. The way we talk about a subject can change our view of the subject.
Text is almost always subject to interpretation.
Language is not neutral and innocent.
It often contains values, attitudes, and assessments that the sender will convey to the recipient.
Dimension 3: Fairclough Social Practice
Language creates opinions and characterizes our attitudes. It creates social relationships and practices.
Languages are associated with power. Languages are part of our communication, and communication is a social event,
The language and the choice of words form the context of our social community.
Languages and Communication are also closely linked to the society in which we are located. In this connection, society can be an organization where there are certain norms and traditions.
Dimension 3 may apply to the entire organization for certain subjects while it is at the departmental level for other subjects.
In certain special cases, dimension three applies to transnational companies. It requires a very strong company culture. Emirates Airlines, Ikea, and McDonald’s could be examples.
How To Do Critical Discourse Analysis; Critical Discourse Analysis Example
How To Do Critical Discourse Analysis using a Critical Discourse Analysis example. A case of fire and rescue company with stations in every major city in the country. The country in which the stations are placed has a low context culture.
The company is more than 100 years old, and there are lots of traditions in the company.
One of these is an annual new year speech for the employees, and the local leader reads the speech at the New Year’s parade at all stations at exactly the same hour.
The speech is also subsequently included in the Staff magazine and posted online on the company’s website afterward.
This particular New Year’s speech in question was written and held when a structural reform from the government would severely affect the company. This speech became a means of communicating change.
It was a reform to the framework for the delivery of public and private services where the company in the future would compete with other companies for their services where they had previously had a monopoly.
If we look at the speech through the Fairclough critical discourse analysis, we have an analysis as follows.
- The CEO has chosen to develop a unifying, encouraging paternal speech and includes attitudes towards how the employees should regard the company.
- The CEO is the center of the speech, and the speech is an expression of how management views this structural change.
Here we will look at a few word choices in the speech.; the word level shows something about management’s intent and its translation.
Fairclough Words & Text Analysis Example
Talking to employees can portray a solemn and old-fashioned ritual in the company with words like tradition, belief, and the past year. We have a stable and old business in front of us.
Later in the speech, words such as deep thanks to the employees, the CEO appears to be humble. It gives both a recognizable tone and is partly family-oriented and educative. We get a picture of a very traditional company with the management that sets the agenda.
With sentences like, we are not here for our own sake, and because there are some people in society who need us and later in the speech but we must also be aware that others do better and help cheaper, so our entitlement is no longer applicable.
Here we have management’s view that the firefighters and the company’s paramedics work out of idealism and as heroes as in the first sentence. We are not here for our own sake.
In the next sentence, we must also be aware that there are changes on the way, and it is no longer enough to be an idealistic rescuer. The words and the way the speeches are written are what we seek to understand by analyzing the text and thus dimension one in Fairclough Model.
Fairclough Discursive Practice Analysis Example
The discursive practice in the New Year’s speech is the way it is produced. The form, thus speaking and not writing.
Also, the author of the speech draws on other discourses in the text. This is to say whether the author may have borrowed passages from other speeches.
For example, the Queen’s New Year’s speech, as when the queen says a society like ours would not function if no one stayed at their post to ensure peace of mind. For all of us on New Year’s Eve, we wish them all a happy New Year and thank them for their efforts.
Here we have threads that lead back to We are not here for our own sake, but because there is someone in society who needs us.
Fairclough Social Practice Analysis Example
Social practice is about the norms and traditions of the Fire and Rescue Company. The language really works in a company that has a patriarchal and organizational structure with authoritarian leadership at the top—a kind of family structure where the father is speaking to his Children.
In a young, dynamic IT company, this kind of solemn speech, which was subsequently included in a staff magazine, would not work.
Social practice is thus different from one industry to another, and also within the industry, there are major differences in social practice.
Norman Fairclough Critical Discourse Analysis Criticism /Disadvantages
- Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis model is difficult to understand and use, and much literature has been written about it. We have solely discussed the model’s principles to form an understanding framework for it and its use for the analysis of change.
- It works differently from culture to culture, especially be careful with transfers between low and high context culture. Sometimes it’s about what’s not being said or written.
Advantages of Critical Discourse Analysis
- Fairclough Critical Discourse Analysis is instrumental when you need to figure out what the sender wants to convey to the recipients and what behavior does the sender wants from the recipients.