There are two main leading scholars among others that can be mentioned in CDA: T. A. Van Dijk whose framework is based on the cognitive analysis of the text and Norman Fairclough who relies majorly on the analysis of social, linguistic and cultural aspects of the text. Both scholars contributed to the development of CDA as a new field of study. This article sheds lighst of Van Dijk’s Framework of CDA.
1. Van Dijk’s Framework
Van Dijk focuses on scrutinizing news in the press and the relationship between discourse and media. Language for him is part of the mental representation. Van Dijk (1991) developed a socio-cognitive account that focuses on “the discursive nature of the reproduction of racism by the press” (p. 254). On this basis, Van Dijk (1988a, 1988b, 1991, and 1993) has developed a systematic framework for scrutinizing news discourse, especially newspaper articles.
Van Dijk (2001) defines CDA as:
Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context. With such dissident research, critical discourse analysts take explicit position, and thus want to understand, expose, and ultimately resist social inequality. (p. 352)
The above extract pinpoints some issues of power abuse, inequality, and dominance that are expressed in the language of the news headlines or any language production. In order to identify such relationship, Van Dijk believes that we can interpret any social phenomenon based on the micro-level analysis and macro-level of analysis.
1.1. Micro and Macro Levels of Analysis
Van Dijk (2001), believes that language use, discourse, verbal interaction, and communication are related to the micro-level of the social order. Generally speaking, the microstructure level examines the structure of the text in terms of the rhetoric elements and coherence as well. In the analysis of the text, the microstructure level of analysis is not enough. The macrostructure level, however, is necessary because it deals with the issues of power, dominance, and inequality between social groups. To study any social problem in which some actors are involved, Van Dijk identifies two main groups: ingroup and outgroup. Each group believes in certain principles that oppose the other and expresses their beliefs through language.
‘Ingroup and outgroup’ is a group relation in which two opposing groups hold different ideologies. Van Dijk (1995), points out that the ingroup (Us) is represented positively, is given more importance, described in a detailed way and in need of sympathy and compassion. The outgroup (Them), on the other hand, is represented negatively, are given less importance, described in a general way and is subject to negative criticism that makes the audience shape the sense of hatred towards them. CDA analysts can reveal this contrast from the word choice given for each group. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example, the supporters of Israel consider Israeli people as the ingroup and the Palestinians as the outgroup and vice versa. To conclude, Van Dijk and Fairclough’s frameworks of CDA are suitable for the analysis of the news headlines, political texts, campaigns, and speeches to unveil the ideological differences and also describe the relationship between CDA and ideology.
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