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Paola Nichele

on 17 October 2014

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Why a feminist CDA?
"Feminist CDA, with its focus on social justice and transformation of gender, is a timely contribution to the growing body of feminist discourse literature, particularly in the field of gender and language where feminist CDA has occupied a surprisingly marginal position."
Articulating a feminist discourse praxis
Feminist analytical activism
“This article brings CDA and feminist studies together in proposing a ‘feminist critical discourse analysis’ (or ‘feminist critical discourse studies’), which aims to advance a rich and nuanced understanding of the complex workings of power and ideology in discourse in sustaining (hierarchically) gendered social arrangements.”
Gender as ideological structure
"From a critical view, ideologies are representations of practices formed from particular perspectives in the interest of maintaining unequal power relations and dominance"
Towards feminist critical discourse analysis: what's in a name?
Critical feminist analysis of a discourse practice
"CDA research has focused on ‘serious’ political, professional, and news media contexts and texts, little attention has been paid to consumer advertisements, which are considered rather banal."
Michelle M. Lazar
Articulating a feminist discourse praxis
Why a feminist CDA?
Complexity of gender and power relation
Discourse in the (de)construction of gender
Critical reflexivity as praxis
“Gender as a social category intersects with other categories of social identity, including sexuality, ethnicity, age, (dis)ability, social class and position, and geographical location.”
"The aim of critical discourse studies..."
Feminists and discourse analysts: a fruitful engagement.
texts and talk!
"From a feminist perspective, the prevailing conception of gender is understood as an ideological structure that divides people into two classes, men and women, based on hierarchical relation of domination and subordination, respectively.
"patriarchal dividend"
"individuals who acts as agents of oppression"
"there are ruptures in the otherwise seamless and natural quality of gender ideology"
"deviations from gender-appropriate norms are policed and contained in the presence of a prevailing discourse of heteronormativity."
"The interest of feminist CDA lies in how gender ideology and gendered relations of power get (re)produced, negotiated, and contested in representations of social practices, in social relationships between people, and in people’s social and personal identities in texts and talk."
"Gender relationality entails a focus on two kinds of relationships"
Identities as "women" and "man"
ethnomethodologically-based concept of 'doing gender'
postmodernist idea of 'gender performativity'
Interdisciplinary research
"The study, concerned to examine the emergence of a discourse of popular postfeminism in this corpus, analysed the configurations of meaning constitutive of the discourse across the intertextual archive of advertisements, and how the popular postfeminist discourse itself was in part interdiscursively constituted through the appropriation of elements of other discourses from other social fields"
feminine (hetero)sexuality construed as women’s
Elizabeth Arden's ad for the fragrance 'Provocative Woman'
"Such representations, however, far from supporting the feminist cause, are quite
detrimental to it."
"the gender order remains dualistic and hierarchical, but the players have been switched."
"the present images of female sexual dominance can contribute to a backlash effect against women and the women’s movement because of the symbolic threat they represent to men. "
"conventional beauty for women"
"The convergence of capitalist consumerist and patriarchal systems, in this case, co-opts and subverts progressive discourses while maintaining the social status quo."
"The place of feminist CDA is to offer a critical perspective on such discursive representations vis-à-vis the prevailing structural relations of power. The discourse of popular postfeminism, circulated in culturally banal texts, is one of many areas requiring critical attention in late modern societies for it muddies questions of power and ideology in contemporary gender relations and stalls critical social awareness. The intervention of a feminist CDA in current practices of recuperative reflexivity is a form of analytical activism, which keeps going critical feminists’ efforts at radical social change."
Since the early 1990's, "in several branches of language and discourse studies, there has been a concerted move towards explicitly including the term ‘feminist’ in various sub-fields by feminist scholars working in these areas"
Questioning linguistics bias based in "patriarchal ideology and oppression"
"Male-stream disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences"
CDA "is known for its overtly political stance and is concerned with analysis of various forms of social inequality and injustice", so why a feminist approach?
1)Not all gender studies "are feminist in the critical sense"
2) Necessity "within CDA to establish a distinctly ‘feminist politics of articulation"
3) To organized the production on the field
UDESC example
Gendered social practices
"First, gender functions as an interpretive category that enables participants in a community to make sense of and structure their particular social practices"
"Second, gender is a social relation that enters into and partially constitutes all other social relations and activities. Based on the specific, asymmetric meanings of male and female, and the consequences assigned to one or the other within concrete social practices, such an allocation becomes a constraint on further practices"
"The social status quo is contested in favour of a feminist humanist vision of a just society, in which gender does not pre-determine or mediate our relationships with others, or our sense of who we are or might become"
Woman perspetive
Feminist perspective
structure of gender
critical distance on gender
Theory and practice united - "academic activism"
No claim to be neutral
"Overt forms of gender asymmetry or sexism, traditionally, have included exclusionary gate-keeping social practices, physical violence against women, and sexual harassment and denigration of women."
"even though power may be ‘everywhere’ (as theorized by Foucault), gendered subjects are affected by it in different ways."
Race/ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, age, culture, and geography "
"Gender oppression is neither materially experienced nor discursively enacted in the same way for women everywhere"
"There is a need for feminist political action to be inflected by the specificity of cultural, historical, and institutional frameworks, and contextualized in terms of women’s complexly constructed social identities."
Reflexivity "must be an important facet in the practice of feminist CDA"
Changes of attitudes and practices
Awareness of feminist concerns about women’s inclu- sivity and opportunity for just participation in the public sphere is reflected in the implementation of women-friendly programs
gender-related modules in universities
When taught in a feminist perspective they afford space for discussion and reflection
Recuperative reflexivity
Consumerism: advertisers appropriate feminism, they cook it to distill out a residue – an object: a look, a style
governments and other institutions: persuasive effect for pragmatic reasons or from a desire to project an enlightened self-image
Brazilian elections
There is no sameness of all women as the white, middle-class, and heterosexual perspective tends to "believe".
Feminists critical reflexivity of their own theoretical positions and practices
Flaws in classic liberal notions:
equality, freedom, sameness
"Equality from this perspective implies ‘same as men’":
is within male standard
Freedom and equality are historically important for politically disadvantaged groups
"Feminist CDA based on close analysis of contextualized instances of texts and talk in a variety of local situations aims to contribute to feminist politics in this way"
: necessity of a new approach over universality
"The importance of internationalizing the scope of research in order to theorize more carefully the endless variety and monotonous similarity of gender asymmetry across diverse geographical contexts has been discussed above. Also important is to include and rep- resent where possible international feminist scholarship in research articles, author- itative handbooks, readers, and textbooks, and plenary addresses at international conferences"
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