to being an element in the Foucauldian perspective, power is an important
concept in CDA in general, as CDA is used to analyze the language of people in
a position of power. CDA is concerned with the way discourse creates dominance
in society, i.e. the power abuse over others, and the resistance of said power
by those people.
three different approaches to power have been found:
1. Power as
a result of specific resources of individual actors.
2. Power as
a specific attribute of social exchange in each interaction.
3. Power as
a systemic and constitutive element/characteristic of society. (Wodak &
In CDA, power is mostly perceived in the third way. This is because of
Foucault as well as the text in CDA being perceived as a demonstration of
social action. Furthermore, CDA researchers do not always work with
interactional texts such as dialogues. As a result, the overall and general
features that make up society are crucial for CDA analyses as opposed to the
individual resources and social situations. Power is vital for understanding
the dynamics and specifics of control in modern societies, although most of the
time it is invisible. Fairclough and Wodak explained in 1991 and 1989,
respectively, this relation between social power and language which is a
permanent topic not only in CDA but also in sociology. Therefore, what defines
CDA is its focus on power as an important feature in social life, as well as
using that in an effort to understand language. (ibid).
Finally, power is about relations of difference, particularly in social
structures. Social matters ensure that language is associated with social power
in a number of ways: language expresses power, and is involved where there is
heated disagreement. Although, power does not necessarily derive from language,
but language can be used to subvert it and alter distributions of power in the
short and the long term. Language very well joins the differences in power in
social structures. (ibid).