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Critical Discourse Analysis for Obama's 2012 cictory speech - Essay Example

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Critical Discourse Analysis and van Dijk: Analysing Barack Obama’s 2012 Victory Speech Introduction Teun van Dijk (1993) is interested in how discourse affects power and dominance. As discourse can be used to reproduce or challenge dominance, this is where van Dijk’s interest lies…
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Critical Discourse Analysis for Obamas 2012 cictory speech
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Download file to see previous pages It may also result in oppression of groups based upon gender (Clegg, 1975). Van Dijk (2006) also states that much of what goes into discourse is an attempt to manipulate the audience. Therefore, the central crux of the CDA is how words and discourse is used to control different groups. They must work to change the minds of others, so that these groups’ minds and thoughts are more in line with the groups in power (van Dijk, 2003). van Dijk (2006) looks at the context of speech, as well as examine the discrete parts of the speech for a linguistic analysis, including grammar, style, pragmatism, etc. Included are examinations of sociopolitical contexts, as well as look at how a speech is used to manipulate other groups (Furnham, 1981). Van Dijk (1995) is also interested in how discourses advance ideology. According to van Dijk (1995), ideologies are cognitive, social, sociocognitive, are not true or false, have varying degrees of complexity, have variable maifestations, and are general or abstract. By stating that ideologies are cognitive, van Dijk (1995) states that ideologies are individualistic, which means that the individual has a system of ideas, thoughts, beliefs, judgments and values. An analysis of discourse Van Dijk (1978) further breaks down how discourse should be analysed. He states that there are semantic structures that can be examined to indicate how the speech is being used, and what the goal is, the ideology, and so forth. Speech may be analysed in this way at the microstructure level, or the macrostructure level. The microstructure level is the level that analyses the local level of discourse – the structure of the individual propositions and the relations. The macrostructure is the level that analyses the more global nature of the speech - the discourse itself would fit into a theme, so that the discourse may be seen as a part of a meaningful whole(Clark, 1977). Van Dijk (1978) states that a coherent text base is made up of propositions. The proposition is a concept and an argument. The argument may fulfill different functions, such as agent, object and goal of the speech. The text bases must be coherent. One type of coherence is the referential coherence. This is coherence between two propositions that share the same argument, or maybe referentially coherent because one argument is embedded with another argument. There needs to be some kind of argument overlap between all the concepts of the text, for the text to be further processed. If there are gaps, then inference processes may close them – in other words, not everything has to be said. Some things can be inferred. If there are gaps, then one or more propositions must be added to the base of the text, in order for it to achieve coherence. The other concept advanced by van Dijk (1978) is that of the processing cycle. The human memory can only digest speeches and discourse in chunks of information. Therefore, the chunks must all fit together. The chunks are several propositions. Each of the chunks should link with the other ones that were processed. The chunks are stored in the memory, and only those which are stored in the memory can be used to connect other chunks of information. As long as there is some kind of overlap between the chunks of information, then the text will be interpreted as coherent by the listener. If the proposition shares an argument with another ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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