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Critical Discourse Analysis and Social Media Seminar

Critical Discourse Analysis and Social Media

Wednesday 13 February 2013, Geoffrey Manton 331, 13.00-14.00

Dr J W Unger (Lancaster University)

In this talk, I outline some of the challenges and methodological opportunities in studying social media contexts from a critical discourse analysis (CDA) perspective. While there is a large and continually growing volume of work in computer-mediated discourse analysis (CMDA, see Herring 2008), and there have been a number of successful attempts to apply CDA in online contexts (e.g. Wright & Wodak 2006), CDA scholars have traditionally been rather reluctant to engage with new media (Mautner 2005), and CMDA scholars have not necessarily engaged with the socio-political contexts of data.

I examine some of the theoretical, methodological and practical implications of adopting a CDA framework in social media contexts, using a case study of activists who use Twitter as an example. I conclude that CDA is advantageously placed, as a loose, adaptable theoretical approach rather than a rigid methodological framework, to investigate these new contexts, but it requires new tools to fully realise its potential.

Herring, S. C. (2008). Computer-Mediated Discourse. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. E. Hamilton (Eds.), The Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 612-634). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Mautner, G. (2005). Time to get wired: Using web-based corpora in critical discourse analysis. Discourse & Society, 16(6), 809-828.

Wodak, R., & Wright, S. (2006). The European Union in Cyberspace: Multilingual Democratic Participation in a virtual public sphere? Journal of Language and Politics, 5(2), 251-275.


Johann W Unger is a Lecturer and Academic Director of Summer Programmes at Lancaster University’s Department of Linguistics and English Language. His publications include ‘Legitimating inaction : differing identity constructions of the Scots language’ in the European Journal of Cultural Studies, ‘Rebranding the Scottish Executive: A discourse-historical analysis’, forthcoming in the Journal of Language and Politics. He is an Editor of the book series Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture.


February 9th, 2013 - 20:53pm

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