Discourse, power and ideology : some explorations in critical discourse analysis
This thesis consists of an inquiry into the articulation between language, ideology, and power, which is approached from two different angles. Firstly, it deals with theories of ideology as representation, and secondly, investigates the effect of ideology and power on structures of discursive interaction. Thompson (1984) has argued for the necessity of accounting for the relationship between meaning and power in the study of ideology, a relationship which does not seem to be adequately addressed by theories of representation on the one hand, or by theories of social interaction, on the other. The central objective of this research is then to identify possible areas of interface between the linguistic domains of semantics and pragmatics, and the social domains of background beliefs and institutional interaction, and to investigate how this interface may, in practice, construct and organise ideological meanings in discourse. Through a series of case studies, examples of naturally-occurring discourse are analysed in order to examine specific ways in which meaning works to sustain asymmetrical relations of power, and it is argued that this relationship between meaning and power cannot be fully accounted for without integrating pragmatic theories of language in use into the analysis of social discourse.