"(Critical) Discourse Analysis" on Wikipedia
philchappell at MAC.COM
Sat Mar 11 13:02:28 UTC 2006
I don't know too much about the workings of the supposed freely
produced Wikipedia, but I have noticed one trend in the past few
years when I have intermittently used it - postings on large topics
such as CDA or DA or a major name in a field e.g. Vygotsky http://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vygotsky have tended to be briefer and
definitely the voice of fewer contributors. I spent some time several
years back contributing to the entry on "zone of proximal
development" and "scaffolding", two widely used constructs in
education. None of my original contributions remain and a monoglossic
tone of brevity pervades those pages.
I would be happy to contribute to your project for CDA on Wikipedia,
however should we first check on the stability of contributions? It
seems to me that a privileged group are somehow able to hold on to
AUA Language Centre
University of Wollongong
New South Wales, Australia
On 11/03/2006, at 6:46 AM, Teun A. van Dijk wrote:
> Dear friends,
> I do not usually look up Wikipedia when I need to know something I
> do not know, although the idea of a shared net-cyclopedia is great,
> and I wished we had something like that for discourse studies (I
> proposed the idea some years ago, but it did not work out because
> of technical problems: on which server to put it, etc...).
> However, if you type in "Critical Discourse Analysis" or "Discourse
> Analysis" in Google, as undoubtedly many students do, then you also
> hit on the Wikipedia definitions - and on some surprises, such as a
> mere two books being mentioned as references for DA, one of which
> is... Austin's How to do things with words: Check it out for yourself:
> as well as some other confused, misguided, etc, statements like:
> Thus, most discourse analysts following Harris have conducted work
> that falls under the heading of “pragmatics” in modern linguistics,
> rather than “syntactics,” though many discourse analysts would
> reject linguists’ tripartite division of the main characteristics
> of language--the third characteristic being "semantics."
> Critical discourse analysis, which combines discourse analysis with
> critical theory (particularly that of the Frankfurt School, Michel
> Foucault and Jacques Derrida, as well as literary, semiotic and
> psychoanalytic influences from Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes, and
> Jacques Lacan), to create a politically engaged form of linguistic
> discourse analysis.
> Of course this is no drama, but always worrying about what students
> learn, I find this at least a bad example of a Wikipedia entry. Or
> maybe I simply have no idea who of all these French heroes were
> actually CDA-ers avant la lettre... Jaques Lacan a CDA-er?
> The item on CDA has the following surprising statement:
> In terms of method, CDA can generally be described as hyper-
> linguistic or supra-linguistic, in that practitioners who use CDA
> consider the larger discourse context or the meaning that lies
> beyond the grammatical structure.
> Obviously, this has little to do with CDA (or is a raving triviality).
> Just check it out:
> And while you are at it, also check the (basic) entry on Discourse:
> where you can read initial statements such as:
> Discourse is a term used in semantics as in discourse analysis, but
> it also refers to a social conception of discourse, often linked
> with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and
> Jürgen Habermas' The Theory of Communicative Action. Even though
> each thinker had personal and incompatible conceptions of
> discourse, they remain two important figures in this field;
> Habermas trying to find the transcendent rules upon which speakers
> could agree on a groundworks consensus, while Foucault was
> developing a battle-type of discourse which opposed the classic
> marxist definition of ideology as part of the superstructure).
> Now who in contemporary DA recognize themselves in this statement
> as an introduction to contemporary discourse analysis? Habermas
> (with all due respect for his work) as the leading scholar in the
> definition of 'discourse'?
> So, WHO IS WRITING THIS NONSENSE?
> I thought that Wikipedia editing was meant to correct obvious
> errors, add new references, or add an obvious point that had been
> forgotten, but not that people who have no idea (re)write items...
> I also discovered that I am (still) described in Wikipedia as a
> text-linguist -- that is, by someone who has not read his (?)
> discourse analysis literature for some 30 years...
> In sum, this is not doing Wikipedia or our students any good, so I
> propose at least some of us jointly compose some items on (C)DA
> that can be warranted as more or less representative of the field,
> then to be submitted to (for instance) this list, with requests for
> corrections and additions, and then we post it on Wikipedia... and
> see what happens to those items...
> I of course know that encyclopedia items come in many guises, and
> reflect the interests, etc. of the writer(s), and no entry can be
> 'objective', but I think they should at least be more or less
> correct, and more or less representative.
> PS. Para l at s hispanohablantes escribí entradas sobre AD y ACD para
> la versión de Wikipedia en español -- espero que sean más
> Teun A. van Dijk
> Universitat Pompeu Fabra
> Dept. de Traducció i Filologia
> Rambla 30
> 08002 Barcelona
> E-mail: teun at discourse-in-society org
> Internet: www.discourse-in-society.org
> Para hispanohablantes también:
> E-mail: teun at discursos.org
> Internet: www.discursos.org
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