Discourse, Figure (Cultural Critique Books)


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Instead, we might best see CDA as a problem-oriented interdisciplinary research movement, subsuming a variety of approaches, each with different theoretical models, research methods and agenda. What unites them is a shared interest in the semiotic dimensions of power, injustice, abuse, and political-economic or cultural change in society.


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CDA is distinctive in a its view of the relationship between language and society, and b its critical approach to methodology. Let us take these in CQ Press Your definitive resource for politics, policy and people. Remember me? Back Institutional Login Please choose from an option shown below. Need help logging in? Click here. Don't have access?

Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism

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Instrumentalised on All Sides

Click here for free trial login. Loading content A Small. If a novelist had concocted a villain like Trump — a larger-than-life, over-the-top avatar of narcissism, mendacity, ignorance, prejudice, boorishness, demagoguery and tyrannical impulses not to mention someone who consumes as many as a dozen Diet Cokes a day — she or he would likely be accused of extreme contrivance and implausibility.

But the more clownish aspects of Trump the personality should not blind us to the monumentally serious consequences of his assault on truth and the rule of law, and the vulnerabilities he has exposed in our institutions and digital communications. For decades now, objectivity — or even the idea that people can aspire toward ascertaining the best available truth — has been falling out of favour. This has been exponentially accelerated by social media, which connects users with like-minded members and supplies them with customised news feeds that reinforce their preconceptions, allowing them to live in ever narrower silos.

For that matter, relativism has been ascendant since the culture wars began in the s.

Discourse analysis: A useful methodology for health-care system researches

Since then, relativistic arguments have been hijacked by the populist right. Ignorance was now fashionable. This both encouraged a more egalitarian discourse and made it possible for the voices of the previously disfranchised to be heard. But it has also been exploited by those who want to make the case for offensive or debunked theories, or who want to equate things that cannot be equated.

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The strategy, essentially, was this: dig up a handful of so-called professionals to refute established science or argue that more research is needed; turn these false arguments into talking points and repeat them over and over; and assail the reputations of the genuine scientists on the other side. I believe in being truthful, not neutral.

And I believe we must stop banalising the truth. As the west lurched through the cultural upheavals of the s and s and their aftermath, artists struggled with how to depict this fragmenting reality. Some writers like John Barth, Donald Barthelme and William Gass created self-conscious, postmodernist fictions that put more emphasis on form and language than on conventional storytelling.

Others adopted a minimalistic approach, writing pared-down, narrowly focused stories emulating the fierce concision of Raymond Carver. And as the pursuit of broader truths became more and more unfashionable in academia, and as daily life came to feel increasingly unmoored, some writers chose to focus on the smallest, most personal truths: they wrote about themselves.

He tried this himself in novels such as The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full , using his skills as a reporter to help flesh out a spectrum of subcultures with Balzacian detail. Personal testimony also became fashionable on college campuses, as the concept of objective truth fell out of favour and empirical evidence gathered by traditional research came to be regarded with suspicion. In a documentary titled HyperNormalisation , the filmmaker Adam Curtis created an expressionistic, montage-driven meditation on life in the post-truth era; the title was taken from a term coined by the anthropologist Alexei Yurchak to describe life in the final years of the Soviet Union, when people both understood the absurdity of the propaganda the government had been selling them for decades and had difficulty envisioning any alternative.

Some Trump allies on the far right also seek to redefine reality on their own terms. In other words, selling their inside-out alternative reality, in which white people are suffering from persecution, multiculturalism poses a grave threat and men have been oppressed by women.

Literary criticism

Online cultures that used to be relatively nonpolitical are beginning to seethe with racially charged anger. Some sci-fi, fandom, and gaming communities — having accepted run-of-the-mill antifeminism — are beginning to espouse white-nationalist ideas. Many misogynist and white supremacist memes, in addition to a lot of fake news, originate or gain initial momentum on sites such as 4chan and Reddit — before accumulating enough buzz to make the leap to Facebook and Twitter, where they can attract more mainstream attention.

DiResta warned in the spring of that the algorithms of social networks — which give people news that is popular and trending, rather than accurate or important — are helping to promote conspiracy theories.

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