Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ch. 4 of Prof. Pennycook's CALx

Chapter 4 The Politics of Text


4.1.1 Literacies as Social Practices

Is literacy "autonomous, asocial, and decontextualized cognitive processes"? (Pennycook 2001, p. 76)

"Literacy myth": literacy is in and of itself beneficial.

James Paul Gee (2007)
Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourses (3rd edition) (Taylor & Francis) seems a very important book in understanding sociocultural aspects of literacies.

Introduction Gee explains the three aims of the book:
The book seeks to accomplish three things: first, to give readers an overview of sociocultural approaches to language and literacy; second, to introduce readers to a particular style of analyzing language-in-use-in-society; and, third, to develop a specific theory of language and literacy centered around the notion of Discourses (with a capital D). Introduction vii

You can read some part of the book in
Google Book search.

An alternative view:
literacies as plural and complex practices as in literacy practices, social literacies, or multiliteracies

Prof. James Gee explains "the New Literacy Studies and the 'Social Turn'" as follows:

The New Literacy Studies (NLS) was one movement among many that took part in a larger "social turn" away from a focus on individuals and their "private" minds and towards interaction and social practice. The NLS (see Barton 1994; Gee 1996; and Street 1995 for programmatic statements; see Heath 1983 and Street 1984 for seminal "early" examples of the NLS) are based on the view that reading and writing only make sense when studied in the context of social and cultural (and we can add historical, political, and economic) practices of which they are but a part. The NLS arose along side a heady mix of other movements, some of which were incorporated into the NLS. These movements argued their own case for the importance of the "social", each with their own take on what "social" was to mean.

The movements that helped the New Literacy Studies take a "social turn", according to Gee, are 1. Ethnomethodology and conversational analysis; 2. The ethnography of speaking; 3. Sociohistorical psychology; 4. Situated cognition; 5. Cultural models theory; 6. Cognitive linguistics; 7. Science and technology studies; 8. Modern composition theory; 9. Connectionism; 10. Narrative studies; 11. Evolutionary approaches to mind and behavior; 12. Modern sociology; 13. "Post-structuralist" and "postmodernist" work.

Multiliteracies "creates a different kind of pedagogy: one in which language and other modes of meaning are dynamic representational resources, constantly being remade by their users as they work to achieve their various cultural purposes. (
Cope and Kalantzis 2000, p. 5)"

You can read a paper "Literacy Studies in Education: Disciplined Developments in a Post-Disciplinary Age" by Prof. Colin Lankshear on the web.

In the section of "Toward a sociocultural approach to literacy studies," his version of literacy studies is explained as follows:

Understanding literacy as sociocultural practice means that reading and writing can only be understood in the context of the social, cultural, political, economic, historical practices to which they are integral; of which they are a part. This view lies at the heart of what Gee (1996) calls the ‘new’ literacy studies, or socioliteracy studies -- which is what will count as literacy studies (proper) for the rest of this discussion (see also Barton 1994; Street 1984, 1993, 1995). The relationship between human practice and the production, distribution, exchange, refinement, contestation, etc., of meanings is a key idea here. Human practices are meaningful ways of doing things, or getting things done (Franklin 1990). There is no practice without meaning, just as there is no meaning outside of practice. Within contexts of human practice, language (words, literacy, texts) gives meaning to contexts and, dialectically, contexts give meaning to language. Hence, there is no reading or writing in any meaningful sense of the terms outside of social practices, or discourses.

Three grouds in support of a sociocultural perspective on literacy against the traditional view can be summarized as follows:

(1) We cannot make sense of our experience of literacy without reference to social practice: Different histories of ‘literate immersion’ yield different forms of reading and writing as practice.
(2) The sociocultural model has necessary theoretical scope and explanatory power: The sociocultural model provides a proven basis for framing, understanding, and addressing some of the most important literacy education issues we face: issues which cannot be framed effectively -- let alone addressed -- from the traditional perspective on account of its individualist, ‘inner’, or ‘abstracted skills and processes’ orientation.
(3) ‘Unwanted’ theoretical trappings and implications for social worlds: Current education reform proposals construct literacy as individualised, standardised, and commodified in the extreme. They constitute standard English literacy as the indisputable norm, advocate the ‘technologizing’ of literacy to unprecedented levels, and tie the significance and value of literacy in increasingly narrow and instrumental ways to economic viability and demands of citizenship (see Lankshear 1998 for detailed discussion).

A sociocultural definition of literacy is explained as follows::

Any acceptable and illuminating sociocultural definition of literacy has to make sense of reading, writing and meaning-making as integral elements of social practices. Such a definition is provided by Gee (1996), who defines literacy in relation to Discourses. Discourses are socially recognised ways of using language (reading, writing, speaking, listening), gestures and other semiotics (images, sounds, graphics, signs, codes), as well as ways of thinking, believing, feeling, valuing, acting/doing and interacting in relation to people and things, such that we can be identified and recognised as being a member of a socially meaningful group, or as playing a socially meaningful role (cf Gee 1991, 1996, 1998a). To be in, or part of, a Discourse means that others can recognise us as being a ‘this’ or a ‘that’ (a pupil, mother, priest, footballer, mechanic), or a particular ‘version’ of a this or that (a reluctant pupil, a doting mother, a radical priest, a ‘bush’ mechanic) by virtue of how we are using language, believing, feeling, acting, dressing, doing, and so on.

->Still failing to "offer a political critique of those contexts or an adequate vision of change. (Pennycook 2001, p. 78)"?


Fairclough and Wodak (1997: 271-80) summarize the main tenets of CDA as follows:

1. CDA addresses social problems
2. Power relations are discursive
3. Discourse constitutes society and culture
4. Discourse does ideological work
5. Discourse is historical
6. The link between text and society is mediated
7. Discourse analysis is interpretative and explanatory
8. Discourse is a form of social action.
Fairclough, N. L. and Wodak, R. (1997). Critical discourse analysis. In T. A. van Dijk (ed.), Discourse Studies. A Multidisciplinary Introduction, Vol. 2. Discourse as Social Interaction (pp. 258-84). London: Sage.
[Summarized by van Dijk on page 353 of "Critical Discourse Analysis" In D. Tannen, D. Schiffrin & H. Hamilton (Eds.), Handbook of Discourse Analysis. (pp. 352-371). Oxford: Blackwell.

Wodak, Fairclough and van Dijk are important figures in CDA.

Ruth Wodak

According to the description provided by Lancaster, her "main research agenda focus the development of theoretical approaches in discourse studies (combining ethnography, argumentation theory, rhetoric, and functional systemic linguistics); gender studies; language and/in politics; prejudice and discrimination."

Disorders of Discourse is one of her important works.

Prof. Wodak is a Wittgenstein Award Laureate 1996, too.

You can read an interview of Prof. Wodak on the web. Below are some highlights.

KENDALL: Why "critical" discourse analysis? What is the gain, and what is the risk, in the moment of being "critical"? What are the most important developments in CDA?

WODAK: "Critical" means not taking things for granted, opening up complexity, challenging reductionism, dogmatism and dichotomies, being self-reflective in my research, and through these processes, making opaque structures of power relations and ideologies manifest. "Critical", thus, does not imply the common sense meaning of "being negative".rather "skeptical". Proposing alternatives is also part of being "critical" (see REISIGL and WODAK's definition of "critical" in REISIGL & WODAK, 2001, Chapter 2).


KENDALL: One of the main theoretical and methodological problems in social discourse analysis is the tension between linguistics and sociology, their concepts and methods. Do you see the different paradigms as many discourse researchers do.or do you see problems of incommensurability?

WODAK: Very true.the gap between different epistemological positions and paradigms, between macro and micro can not be bridged in a one-to-one fashion. There will necessarily always be a tension. However, I strive for what I call "integrated interdisciplinarity": integrating approaches for an object under investigation in innovative ways. Of course, sometimes add-on interdisciplinarity occurs which can be very ad hoc and superficial; if various disciplinary perspectives are not discussed, and their epistemological framework not reflected before they are used or integrated, then interdisciplinarity does not make much sense. In WEISS and WODAK (2003) we define and spell out precise criteria for an interdisciplinary methodology and also discuss the limitations of interdisciplinary research.

Norman Fairclough

On the Lancaster University web site, Fairclough explains his research interests:

Since the early 1980s, my research has focused on critical discourse analysis - including the place of language in social relations of power and ideology, and how language figures in processes of social change. My main current interest is in language (discourse) as an element in contemporary social changes which are referred to as 'globalisation', 'neo-liberalism', 'new capitalism', the 'knowledge economy' and so forth. Over the past three years I have been working specifically on aspects of 'transition' in Central and Eastern Europe , especially Romania , from a discourse analytical perspective.

This research is based upon the theoretical claim that discourse is an element of social life which is dialectically interconnected with other elements, and may have constructive and transformative effects on other elements. It also makes the claim that discourse has in many ways become a more salient and potent element of social life in the contemporary world, and that more general processes of current social change often seem to be initiated and driven by changes in discourse. Discourse analysis, including linguistic analysis, therefore has a great deal more to contribute to social research than has generally been recognised, especially when integrated into interdisciplinary research projects.

Wikipedia describes "Fairclough's theories have been influenced by Mikhail Bakhtin and Michael Halliday on the linguistic field, and ideology theorists such as Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu on the sociological one."

His paper, Critical Discourse Analysis (Marges Linguistiques 9 2005 76-94, can be downloaded.

The following is some of the terms and concepts I found interesting.

Methodologically, this approach entails working in a 'transdisciplinary' way through dialogue with other disciplines and theories which are addressing contemporary processes of social change. 'Transdisciplinary' (as opposed to merely 'interdisciplinary', or indeed 'postdisciplinary', Sum & Jessop 2001) implies that the theoretical and methodological development (the latter including development of methods of analysis) of CDA and the disciplines/theories it is in dialogue with is informed through that dialogue, a matter of working with (though not at all simply appropriating) the 'logic' and categories of the other in developing one's own theory and methodology (Fairclough forthcoming a). The overriding objective is to give accounts - and more precise accounts than one tends to find in social research on change - of the ways in which and extent to which social changes are changes in discourse, and the relations between changes in discourse and changes in other, non-discoursal, elements or 'moments' of social life (including therefore the question of the senses and ways in which discourse '(re)constructs' social life in processes of social change). The aim is also to identify through analysis the particular linguistic, semiotic and 'interdiscursive' (see below) features of 'texts' (in a broad sense - see below) which are a part of processes of social change, but in ways which facilitate the productive integration of textual analysis into multi-disciplinary research on change. (p. 1)

Social practices
The realist social ontology adopted here treats social structures as well as social events as parts of social reality. Like a number social theorists, such as Bourdieu and Bhaskar (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1992, Bhaskar 1986), I assume that coherent accounts of the relationship between social structures and social events depend upon mediating categories, for which I shall use the term 'social practices', meaning more or less stable and durable forms of social activity, which are articulated together to constitute social fields, institutions, and organizations. (p. 2)

One might for instance see social practices as including the following elements (though there is clearly room for argument about what the elements are):
Social relations
Objects and instruments
Time and place
Social subjects, with beliefs, knowledge, values etc

These elements are dialectically related (Harvey 1996). That is to say, they are different elements, but not discrete, fully separate, elements. There is a sense in which each 'internalizes' the others without being reducible to them. (p. 3)

Semiosis as part of social activity constitutes 'genres'. Genres are diverse ways of (inter)acting in their specifically semiotic aspect. Examples are: meetings in various types of organisation, political and other forms of interview, news articles in the press, and book reviews. Semiosis in the representation and self-representation of social practices constitutes 'discourses'. Discourses are diverse representations of social life. (p. 4)

Teun A. van Dijk

Here is Wikipedia's description.

Teun Adrianus van Dijk (born May 7, 1943, Naaldwijk, the Netherlands), is a scholar in the fields of text linguistics, discourse analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA).
With Walter Kintsch he contributed to the development of the psychology of text processing. Since the 1980s his work in CDA focused especially on the study of the discursive reproduction of racism by what he calls the 'symbolic elites' (politicians, journalists, scholars, writers), the study of news in the press, and on the theories of ideology and context.

Prof. Teun A. van Dijk's homepage is extremely helpful for learning CDA or Critical Discouse Studies (CDS) as he prefers to call his approach.

There are many articles downloadable from the web site (
personal use only).

"Critical Discourse Analysis" In D. Tannen, D. Schiffrin & H. Hamilton (Eds.), Handbook of Discourse Analysis. (pp. 352-371). Oxford: Blackwell, 2001 (Longer version on homepage) is a great introduction to CDA.

Here are some excerpts.


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)

On "value-free" science

Crucial for critical discourse analysts is the explicit awareness of their role in society. Continuing a tradition that rejects the possibility of a "value-free" science, they argue that science, and especially scholarly discourse, are inherently part of and influenced by social structure, and produced in social interaction. Instead of denying or ignoring such a relation between scholarship and society, they plead that such relations be studied and accounted for in their own right, and that scholarly practices be based on such insights. Theory formation, description, and explanation, also in discourse analysis, are sociopolitically "situated," whether we like it or not. Reflection on the role of scholars in society and the polity thus becomes an inherent part of the discourse analytical enterprise. This may mean, among other things, that discourse analysts conduct research in solidarity and cooperation with dominated groups. (pp. 352-353)

"Discourse, power and access" In Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard and Malcolm Coulthard (Eds.), Texts and Practices. Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis . (pp. 84-104). London: Routledge, 1996 is also a very enlightening paper.


One major element in the discursive reproduction of power and dominance is the very access to discourse and communicative events. In this respect discourse is similar to other valued social resources that forra the basis of power and to which there is unequally distributed access. For instance, not everyone has equal access to the media or to medical, legal, political, bureaucratic or scholarly text and talk. That is, we need to explore the implications of the complex question
Who may speak or write to whom, about what, when, and in what context, or Who may participate in such communicative events in various recipient roles, for instance as addressees, audience, bystanders and overhearers. Access may even be analysed in terms of the topics or referents of discourse, that is, who is written or spoken about. We may assume, as for other social resources, that more access according to there several participant roles, corresponds with more social power. In other words, measures of discourse access may be rather faithful indicators of the power of social groups and their members.,%20power%20and%20access.pdf


Two positions: "discourse as manifestations of ideology" and "discoure
or ideology"

Alastair Pennycook (1994) Incommensurable Discourses?
Applied Linguistics 15 pp. 115-138 is a very informative paper.

This paper is an attempt to come to terms with different understandings of the term discourse. By comparing the common use of discourse analysis in applied linguistics with its use both in critical discourse analysis and in a Foucauldian use of the term, I try to show how these different approaches imply profoundly different understandings of the relationship between language, the individual, ideology, and society. Ultimately, I argue that there are limitations to both the common applied linguistic and the critical approaches, and that it would be useful to explore further the possibilities raised by a Foucauldian understanding of discourse analysis.

Pennycook (1994) contrasts different views of "discourse" in discourse analysis in applied linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, and Foucault.

Discourse Analysis in Applied linguistics

Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics defines discourse as '1) a general term for examples of language use, i.e. language which has been produced as the result of an act of communication; 2 )in contrast to grammar, which deals with clauses, phrases, and referring to 'larger units of language such as paragraphs, conversations, and interviews' (Richards, Platt, and Weber 1985: 83).

Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics defines discourse analysis as 'the study of how sentences in spoken and written language form larger meaningful units such as paragraphs, conversations, interviews, etc' (Richards, Platt, and Weber 1985: 84).

Critical Discourse Analysis

Pennycook points out the similarities and differences between the notions of "discourse" between standard applied linguistics and CDA (Fairclough 1989) as follows:

Discourse, for Fairclough, is 'language as social practice' (1986, p. 17), a definition that has both similarities with and differences from the notion of discourse as language use discussed in the previous section [of standard applied linguistics]. It is similar in that discourse is also used to mean chunks of language as it is actually used. It differs, however, in at least two respects. First, language as social practice differs from language use to the extent that it relates language to other social practices, rather than leaving it in a separate domain. Second, such language practice is seen as socially determined.
Pennycook (1994, p. 121)

According to Fairclough (1989, p. 1) summarized by Pennycook (1994, p. 121), two principal goals of CDA are: first, helping to 'correct a widespread underestimation of the significance of language in the production, maintenance, and change of social relationships of power'; and, second, helping to 'increase consciousness of how language contributes to the domination of some people by others, because consciousness is the first step towards emancipation'.
Fairclough, N. 1989.
Language and Power. London: Longman.

Pennycook (1994, p. 126) takes a critical look at CDA.

I also feel that most of this critical discourse analysis tends to operate with a problematically static view of both language and society. What happens, by and large, is that texts (the micro level) are read in order to reveal the workings of social structures (the macro level).

Discourse as power/knowledge

"Foucault allows for critical analysis while avoiding the reductions and totalizations of more Marxist-based analysis." (Pennycook 1994, p. 126)

The differences between CDA theorists and Pennycook in understanding Foucault can be seen in the tendency of CDA theoriest:

These differences lie in the tendency, first, to see discourse still as a linguistic phenomenon, albeit socially embedded; second to separate discourse from ideology and suggest that the latter determines the former; third, to operate with a view of power only as something held by one group and not by others; and finally to view discourse as only concerned with the delimitation and regulation of what can be said, rather than also with the production of what can be said. (Pennycook 1994, p. 127)

Pennycook goes on to explain how Foucault turned down the notion of ideology in favour of discourse:

Foucault (1980a) explicitly rejects the notion of ideology, however, in favour of discourse, since ideology is predominantly used in contrast to something that is considered to be 'real' or 'the truth', and thus it is assumed that ideology necessarily obfuscates, hides the truth and leads to 'false consciousness' (see previous section). His interest, by contrast, is in the effects of claims to truth, in 'seeing historically how effects of truth are produced within discourses which in themselves are neither true nor false' (Foucault 1980a: 118).
(Pennycook 1994, pp.127-128)

Foucault refused the notion of the ultimate determinant.

Foucault's approach, by contrast, avoids an ontological or teleological search for an ultimate determinant such as class or relations of production and instead looks to a multiplicity of social, cultural, political, economic, technical, or theoretical conditions of possibility for the emergence of discourses. Thus, the constraints on human freedom of thought are no longer reducible to the nature of 'man', to the sexual drives of the subconscious, or to the relationship to the means of production, but rather are a product of a multiplicity of relationships.
(Pennycook 1994, p.128)

For Foucault, discourse is not a reflection of social reality; social realities are produced by discourses. Power operates in discourses in the form of discursive truth.

A Foucauldian analysis presents a different possibility. It is not concerned with how discourses (texts) reflect social reality, but how discourses produce social realities; it does not look for relationships between discourse and society/politics, but rather theorizes discourse as always/already political; it does not seek out an ultimate cause or basis for power and inequality, but rather focuses on the multiplicity of sites through which power operates; and it does not posit a reality outside discourse, but rather looks to the discursive production of truth.
(Pennycook 1994, p.131)

Foucault opposed the notion of ideology because it "always stands in virtual opposition to something else which is supposed to count as truth." (Foucault 1980, p. 118)

==> Deconstructing truth/ideology dichotomy?

Foucault, M. 1980.
Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. (edited by C. Gordon). New York: Pantheon Books.

4.3.1 Knowledge Claims and Truth

The old Marxist dogma of true science versus false nonsicence.

Applied linguistics claiming itself to be scientific by removing itself from the political domain.

CDA claiming itself to be political
and scientific.

-->Failing to problematize the status of scientific knowledge? (Pennycook 2001, p. 85)

Pennycook explain's Foucauldian notion of the 'politics of knowledge' as follows:

Foucault was fundamentally interested not in truth, but in
truth claims, in the effect of making claims to knowledge. The important point, Foucault (1980) suggests, is not to try to construct a category of scientific knowledge that can then claim some monopoly on the the truth but rather to see "historically how effects of truth are produced within discourses which in themselves are neither true nor false" (p. 118). Furthermore, Foucault (1980) suggests, we need to ask: "What types of knowledge do you want to disqualify in the very instant of your demand; 'Is it a science'?" (p. 85)
Foucault, M. 1980.
Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. (edited by C. Gordon). New York: Pantheon Books.

The above remark by Foucault is followed by the next remark:
Which speaking, discoursing subjects -- which subjects of experience and knowledge -- do you want to 'diminish' when you say: 'I who conduct this discourse am conducting a scientific discourse, and I am a scientist'?  (Foucault 1980, p. 85)

The above remark by Foucault, "What types of knowledge do you want to disqualify in the very instant of your demand; 'Is it a science'?  What types of knowledge do you want to disqualify in the very instant of your demand; 'Is it a science'?", is a conclusive question from his discussion of "subjugated knowledges."

By "subjugated knowledges," Foucault means two things.  One is "the historical contents that have been buried and disguised in a functionalist coherence or formal systemisation. (Foucault 1980, p. 81)"  The other is "a whole set of knowledges that have been disgualified as inadequate to their task or insufficiently elaborated: naive knowledges, located low down on the hierarchy, beneath the required level of cognition or scientificity.  (Foucault 1980, p. 82)"

The paper "Two Lectures" from which the above remark is taken is an important paper to understand Foucault's notion of power as well.  Foucault calls the traditional idea of power "an economism in the theory of power."
By than I mean that in the case of the classic, juridial theory, power is taken to be a right, which one is able to possess like a commodity, and which one can in consequence transfer or alienate, either wholly or partiall, through a legal act or through some act that establishes a right, such as takes place through cession or contract.  (Foucault 1980, p. 88)

To this notion, Foucault asks a number of questions.
[I]n the first place, is power always in a subordiate position relative to the economy?  Is it always in the service of, and ultimately answerable to, the economy?  Is its essential end and purpose to serve the economy?  Is it destined to realise, consolidate, maintain and reproduce the relations appropriate to the economy and essential to its functioning?  In the second place, is power modelled upon the commodity?  Is it something that one posesses, acquires, cedes through force or contract, that one alienates or recovers, that circulates, that voids this or that region?"  (Foucault 1980, p. 89)

Foucault then gives his idea of power, produced, accumulated, circulated and functioned by a discourse.
What I mean is this: in a society such as ours, but basically in any society, there are manifold relations of power which permeate, characterise and constitute the social body, and these relations of power cannot themselves be established, consolidated nor implemented without the production, accumulation, circulation and functioning of a discourse.  (Foucault 1980, p. 93)

In discourse, power and truth are entangled.
We are subjected to the production of truth through power and we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth.  This is the case for every society, but I believe that in ours the relationship between power, right and truth is organised in a highly specific fashion.  If I were to characterise, not its mechanism itself, but its intensity and constancy, I would say that we are forced to produce the truth of power that our society demands, of which it has need, in order to function: we must speak the truth; we are constrained or condemned to confess or to discover the truth.  (Foucault 1980, p. 93)

Foucault's notion of power is clarified in the following remarks.
Power must be analysed as something which circulates, or rather as something which only functions in the form of a chain.  It is never localised here or there, never in anybody's hands, never appropriated as a commodity or piece of wealth.  Power is employed and exercised through a net-like organisation.  And not only do individuals circulate between its threads; they are always in the position of simultaneously undergoing and exercising this power.  They are not only its inert or consenting target; they are always also the elements of its articulation.  In other words, individuals are the vehicles of power, not its points of application.  (Foucault 1980, p. 93)

All this means that power, when it is exercised through these subtle mechanisms, cannot but evolve, organise and put into circulation a knowledge, or rather apparatuses of knowledge, which are not ideological constructs.  (Foucault 1980, p. 102)

4.3.2 Order and Disorder

Wodak (1996): "Disorders of discourse" in various institutional settings make people fail to understand each other.
"In Wodak's view, then, we have an ideal order that is distorted by power and becomes disorder." (Pennycook 2001, p. 86)

Fairclough: "Orders of discourse" as "ideological positions and practices" (Fairclough, 1995, p. 35)

--> Wodak and Fairclough mean the same thing by two different terms.

Wodak is influenced by Habermas, particularly by his notion of "ideal speech situation."

Ideal speech situation is explained by Crossley (2005, p. 140) as "the notion and possibility of a form of discourse composed of the exchange of reasons and steered by the force of the better argument alone: an exchange of reasons and steered by the force of the better argument alone: an exchange of views and reasons in which the best argument wins and does so only because it is the best argument."
Crossley (2005) Key Concepts in Critical Social Theory Sage.

Crossley also explains that the ideal speech situation is not just Habermas's ideal: it is deduced from an analysis of the (necessary) assumptions of ordinary speech (Crossley 2005, p. 142). The same logic is used when Grice proposed the conversational maxims: they are there when we feel something is missing in the interlocutor's speech when we assume we are being rational. We assume the maxims must be there when they are "flouted" or "violated."

4.3.3 The Nonmaterial Base of Discourse

Foucault's (1980) second objection to the notion of ideology: "ideology stands in a secondary position relative to something which functions as its infrastructure, as its material, economic determinant" (p. 118)

"Dominant groups" =>ideology

Pennycook (2001, p. 91)gives a succinct, but comprehensive description of Foucault's notion of power in TABLE 4.3 "Foucault and Power." (Numbers are added)

(1) Power is not something owned or possessed but rather something that operates throughout society.
(2) Power does not have some ultimate location or origin.
(3) Relations of power are not outside other relations but are part of them.
(4) There is no position outside power and no position from which one can arrive at the truth outside relations of power.
(5) Power is always linked to resistance: Where there is power, there is resistance.
(6) Power is not merely repressive but is also productive.
(7) It is in discourse that power and knowledge and joined together.

4.3.4 Production and Reception

Less attention is paid in CDA in showing how discursive strategies are taken up, understood or resisted. (Pennycook 2001, p. 93)


CLA (Critical Language Awareness) as a pedagogically focused version of CDA.

Fairclough (1992, p. 6) Critical Language Awareness. Longman

People cannot be effective citizens in a democratic society if their education cuts them off from critical consciousness of key elements within their physical or social environment. If we are committed to education establishing resources for citizenship, critical awareness of the language practices of one's speech community is an entitlement.

In the wake of falling standards, the back-to-the-basics reactionism or the development of critical literacy materials?

->Liberal idealism favors only those children that already have access to the skills needed to succeed? (Pennycook 2001, p. 95)

Cope and Kalantzis (1993) The Powers of Literacy: A Genre Approach to Teaching Writing University of Pittsburgh Press

"Explicit pedagogy for inclusion and access" (Cope and Kalantzis 1993, p. 97)
A more carefully worked out version of teaching particular genres of language than teaching the standard language.
"With a critical distance" (Cope and Kalantzis 1993, p. 86)


North Americal critical literacy: voices of marginalized students; "pedagogy of inclusion" (students' own languages and lives form the stuff of critical literacy) rather than "pedagogy" of deferral. (students are not literate until they have mastered key genres)" (Pennycook, 2001, p. 100)

Paulo Freire and Donaldo Macedo (1987) Literacy: Reading the Word and the World Bergin & Garvey Paperback

Reading the world aloways preceedes reading the word, and reading the word implies continually reading the world. (Freire & Macedo, 1987, p. 35)

See the web site of The Paulo and Nita Freire Project for Critical Pedagogy

"What is needed in the field of second language pedagogy is an approach that addresses the existential, political, and axiological questions touching the lives of both students and teachers." Graman (1988, p. 441)

EDUCATION FOR HUMANIZATION: Applying Paulo Friere's Pedagogy to Learning a Second Language. Harvard Educational Revies, 58, 433-448.

-->Romanticizing the voice as the writing/speaking of marginalized people?


Poststructuralism as a skepticism about common assumptions. (Pennycook, 2001, p. 107)

(1) Pluralization: eg. knowledge --> knowledges, subjectivity --> subjectivities

(2) Antiessentialist stance: eg. gender, ethnicity, dichotomies such as native speaker-nonnative speaker, first language-second language, qualitative-quantitative, integrative-instrumental, acquisition-learning.

Judith Butler (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity Routledge

Wikipedia summrarizes the book as follows:

The crux of Butler's argument in Gender Trouble is that the coherence of the categories of sex, gender, and sexuality -- the natural-seeming coherence, for example, of masculine gender and heterosexual desire in male bodies -- is culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time. These stylized bodily acts, in their repetition, establish the appearance of an essential, ontological "core" gender. This is the sense in which Butler famously theorizes gender, along with sex and sexuality, as performative. The performance of gender, sex, and sexuality, however, is not a voluntary choice for Butler, who locates the construction of the gendered, sexed, desiring subject within what she calls, borrowing from Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, "regulative discourses." These, also called "frameworks of intelligibility" or "disciplinary regimes," decide in advance what possibilities of sex, gender, and sexuality are socially permitted to appear as coherent or "natural." Regulative discourse includes within it disciplinary techniques which, by coercing subjects to perform specific stylized actions, maintain the appearance in those subjects of the "core" gender, sex and sexuality the discourse itself produces

4.6.1 Toward a Postlinguistics

From a more Marxian framework toward a more Foucauldian one for more complex and subtle analyses. (Pennycook, 2001, p. 108)

Yet, "poststructralist discouse analysis makes often very large claims about the effects of language and discourse without the tools to analyze the microactions of language." (Pennycook, 2001, p. 109)


(1) Language and literacy as always political
(2) Texts and literacy practices as always embedded in social contexts
(3) Focus on the production and reception of texts
(4) Power as that which must be explained: textual analysis as social analysis
(5) Pedagogical and analytic praxis
(Pennycook, 2001, p. 112: TABLE 4.5 Applied Postlinguistic Approaches to Text)


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