In Defense of Critical Discourse Analysis

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Roger S. Frantz


I enjoyed reading the article “Multiple Discourse Analyses of a Workplace Interaction.” The comparative analyses of the particular interaction nicely showcase some of the similarities and the differences between the analytic approaches applied. I feel, however, that the critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the interaction, done by Marra and Holmes, has some limitations. These limitations lend credence to two of the most common criticisms leveled against CDA: (1) the approach too easily allows for a researcher to uncover the findings that he or she expects or wants to find, and (2) the approach lacks methodological rigor. I would like to argue here that Marra and Holmes’s analysis (1) highlights a potential weakness of CDA in terms of the first criticism, and (2) is not evidence of the weakness of CDA methodological rigor but rather a poor application of CDA methodology.

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