Critical Electronic Discourse Analysis: Social and Cultural Research in the Electronic Age

Critical Electronic Discourse Analysis: Social and Cultural Research in the Electronic Age

Bob Hodge (University of Western Sydney, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6114-1.ch014


This chapter investigates and endorses the integration of two existing research traditions, electronic discourse analysis (EDA) and critical discourse analysis (CDA), into a more powerful and comprehensive form of analysis of electronic discourses, Critical Electronic Discourse Analysis (CEDA). It sets this analytic project against the massive, unpredictable changes in culture and society which are associated with the electronic media revolution. It argues for innovative forms of analysis, in which ‘electronic discourse analysis' acquires two over-lapping interpretations: electronically enabled analysis of discourses in all media; and all forms of analysis of electronic discourses and the social forms they express. It uses McLuhan and multi-modality theory to argue for major continuities and significant breaks in semiotic modes over long periods. It argues that powerful innovations in analysis and technology need to recognize and incorporate the two fundamental semiotic modes, digital and analogue, and not seek to replace one with the other.
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The claimed media ‘revolution’ – if there is one – has to be analysed in the forms in which it manifests itself, but many of the claims themselves are made in verbal language, and analysing them draws on the classic resources of CDA. To illustrate the practices of CDA and show their value for understanding how electronic forms are currently constructed in powerful discourses, I quote the title of a recent electronic publication, published under the auspices of the MIT Sloan School of Management: Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2012).

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