Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis by Lazar
Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis by Lazar
What is FCDA? Discuss Lazar’s approach to FCDA.
What are the five key principles of FCDA praxis as proposed by Lazar?
- Introduction to Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis by Lazar:
Developed quite recently, FCDA is a branch of Critical Discourse Analysis. Michelle M. Lazar is one of the major contributors to the study of Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis. FCDA is based on the feminist perspective of CDA.
- What Inspired the Need for FCDA: Fairclough and Van Dijk are two main figures in the field of CDA. Fairclough’s focus was on relation of power with language while Van Dijk highlighted the role of language in the synthesis of ideology. They were not interested in the analysis of gender. Such a condition inspired the need for the development of feminist critical discourse analysis.
- Five Key Principles for FCDA:
Lazar points out five key principles for feminist critical discourse analysis which are outlined below:
i. Feminist Analytical Activism: According to Lazar, feministic critical activism forms the first key principle for the feminist discourse praxis. The goal of CDA is to achieve a just social order by exposing and resisting social inequality. FCDA, on the other hand, aims at understanding, exposing and correcting gender inequality in the society. Through feminist analytical activism, the feminist critical discourse analysts highlight the oppressive patriarchal social order and mobilize feminist theories for a social change.
ii. Gender as Ideological Structure: The consideration of gender as an ideological structure constitutes the second main principle for feminist discourse praxis. According to this principle, the prevailing conception of gender is understood as an ideological structure that divides people into the classes of men and women. Here power is determined by sex, i.e. males are dominant and females are subordinate. Such an unequal social dominance is maintained by the winning of consent through discourse. In other words, society is made to accept this male dominance. The feminist critical discourse analysts try to analyze such gender related ideological structures.
iii. Complexity of Gender and Power Relations:The third key principle of feminist discourse praxis focuses on the complexity of gender and power relations. Feminist CDA is concerned with the recognition of difference and diversity among women and men. Secondly, it takes into account the discursive workings of power prevalent in the society. The gender, sexism and power assume a diversity of forms in different cultures and across time. Here the goal of feminist CDA is to carry out the analysis of the variety of oppression of women in a particular spatial and cultural setting.
iv. Discourse in the Construction & Deconstruction of Gender: The fourth main principle of feminist discourse praxis is related to the construction and deconstruction of gender in discourse. Feminist FCDA takes a view of discourse as being one element of social practices. The discourse analysts are particularly interested with those aspects of social practices that are discursive in character and are discursively (through text and writing) represented in particular ideological ways. There is dialectical relationship between discourse and society, i.e. discourse constitutes and is constituted by social situations and structures. Here the interest of feminist FCDA lies in how gender ideology and gendered relations of power get produced/reproduced, propagated and resisted in social practices through text and talk.
v. Critical Reflexivity as Praxis:According to Giddens, reflexivity is an increased tendency for people to utilize knowledge about social practices in a way that shapes their own subsequent practices. The fifth key principle of FCDA states that there should be a critical focus on reflexivity in the practice of feminist CDA. In this regard, there are two areas of interest. Firstly, how reflexivity is manifested in institutional practices with implications for possibility for change in attitudes and practices. Secondly, the feminists should show critical self-reflexivity for achieving radical transformation of gendered social structures.
The feminist critical discourse analysis has recently evolved as a sub-branch of CDA. It has emerged as a response to the practice of neglecting the aspect of gender by the critical discourse analysts, especially Van Dijk and Fairclough. FCDA aims at understanding, exposing and correcting the gendered social practices which involve gender inequality and oppression against women. The feminist discourse praxis is based on five key principle, namely: feminist analytical activism; gender as ideological structure; complexity of gender and power relations; discourse in the construction and deconstruction of gender; and critical reflexivity as praxis.
i. Muhammad Ishaq
ii. Ali Raza Shamsi
iii. Iram Zulfiqar
iv. Farwa Sanam
Students of M. Phil Linguistics from NCBA&E Multan.
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