Notes: Jan Blommaert and Chris Bulcaen, “Critical Discourse Analysis”

Blommaert, Jan, and Chris Bulcaen. “CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS.” Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 29, Annual Reviews, 4139 El Camino Way, P.O. Box 10139;Palo Alto, CA 94303-0139;USA;, 2000..doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.29.1.447.

Keywords: Anthropology, Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Methodology, Method


Fairclough N. 1989. Language and Power. London: Longman.

van Dijk T. 1995. Discourse analysis as ideology analysis.

Wodak R. 1995. Critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis.


“CDA states that discourse is socially constitutive as well as socially conditioned. Furthermore, discourse is an opaque power object in modern societies and CDA aims to make it more visible and transparent” (448).

“CDA’s locus of critique is the nexus of language/discourse/speech and social structure. It is in uncovering ways in which social structure impinges on discourse patterns, relations, and models (in the form of power relations, ideological effects, and so forth)… These dimensions are the object of moral and political evaluation and analyzing them should have effects in society” (449).

Notes: Thomas Huckin, Jennifer Andrus, and Jennifer Clary-Lemon, “Critical Discourse Analysis and Rhetoric and Composition”

Huckin, Thomas, Jennifer Andrus, and Jennifer Clary-Lemon. “Critical Discourse Analysis and Rhetoric and Composition.”College Composition and Communication, vol. 64, National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, 2012..


Huckin, Andrus, and Clary-Lemon provide a survey of critical discourse analysis’s groundings and uptake into the field of rhetoric and composition.

Keywords: Method, Methodology, Critical Discourse Analysis


“Critical discourse analysis is based on a number of distinctive principles, including these cited by Fairclough and Wodak:
• CDA addresses social problems.
• Power relations are discursive.
• Discourse constitutes society and culture.
• Discourse does ideological work.
• Discourse is historical.
• The link between text and society is mediated.
• Discourse analysis is interpretative and explanatory.
• Discourse is a form of social action. (271-80)” (108).

“Rhetoric and composition has always been concerned with the power of spoken and written discourse, in particular the ways in which language can be used to persuade audiences about important public issues. If anything, such interest has increased in recent times, constituting what Mike Rose has called a “public turn” (291). CDA aligns itself with this tradition in attending to purpose, situation, genre, diction, style, and other rhetorical variables, but also supplements it in a number of ways:
1. CDA systematically grounds its analyses in both quantitative and qualitative attention to linguistic details.
2. CDA routinely engages texts that reflect inequality or other abuses of power.
3. As a consequence of point 2, CDA is always critical and explanatory.
4. CDA draws on a wide repertoire of textlinguistic tools.
5. CDA is eclectic, drawing on a wide variety of scholarly disciplines, concepts, and research methods.
6. CDA typically makes use of multiple texts and even large corpora of texts.
7. CDA takes into account textual silences, implicatures, ambiguities, and other covert but powerful aspects of discourse.
8. In the interest of reaching a broad lay audience, CDA tries to minimize the use of academic jargon” (109).

“Moreover, CDA matches writing studies’ scholarly goal to understand the impacts of writing as a cultural practice and to examine the contexts of such practices historically, materially, and politically” (110).


Notes: Michael Mahon, “Foucault, Nietzsche, Genealogy: An Introduction”

Mahon, Michael. “Foucault, Nietzsche, Genealogy: An Introduction.” Foucault’s Nietzschean genealogy: truth, power, and the subject, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1992.

Keywords: Genealogy, Theory, Philosophy


“The Nietzsche who is so important to Foucault, first, is Nietzsche the genealogist, the one who problematized truth as intimately entwined with relations of power, who sought a multiplicity of relations of forces at the origin of our taken for granted values and concepts and even the things we experience” (2).

“The problematic of the three genealogical axes—truth, power, and subjectivity—arises from this central theme. By revealing the moral problematization of madness, Nietzsche’s main concerns become Foucault’s own. Power, manifest in the practices of interning the mad, functions positively by constituting mental illness as a phenomenon available to perception” (4).

“If by the origin (Ursprung) one means the locale of something’s primordial truth, essence, or original identity, nothing could be further from what genealogy seeks. The genealogist foregoes any search for such metaphysical fictions and, instead, cultivates the disparate details, events, and accidents found at any beginning… Genealogy is critique of reason because of its commitment to overturn reason’s prejudices in favor of “unity, identity, duration, substance, cause, materiality, and being.” The critique of reason is not a matter of seeking the limits of reason in order to “provide a positive foundation for the possibility of knowing”; instead critique is a historical investigation which unveils reason’s falsifications and reveals the moral will that undergirds it. Genealogy is “effective history” because it avoids the traditional historian’s metaphysical prejudices and relocates everything traditionally considered eternal into a process of becoming” (8).


Notes: William Sayers, “The Etymology of Queer”

Sayers, William. “The Etymology of Queer.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews, vol. 18, Heldref, Philadelphia, 2005..doi:10.3200/ANQQ.18.2.17-19.




Sayers offers a brief etymology of queer in its Irish origins to introduce queer theory to cultural studies.

Keywords: Queer, Queer Theory, Etymology, Linguistics, Cultural Studies


“Etymology does not, of course, determine future meaning(s) or dictate historical development. Yet it does offer not only a point of departure on this route but also certain first conditions, which may be variously socioeconomic, related to judgmental issues, register, affective value, and so on” (16).

“‘Queer theory’ is now well established both as a phrase and an analytical methodology in cultural studies, as evidenced by entries in recent dictionaries of an companions to criticism, postmodern studies, and so on. This theory in turn guides explorations of authors such as Wilde, Joyce, O’Brien, and Beckett, thus bringing queer full round to its Irish origins which were, we recall, as ‘crooked, awry, circular.'”

Notes: Rebecca Rickly, “Making Sense of Making Knowledge”

Rickly, Rebecca. “Making Sense of Making Knowledge.”College Composition and Communication, vol. 64, 2012.


Keywords: Compostion, Rhetoric, Writing Studies, Research, Methodology, Methods, Feminist Rhetorics


Fleckenstein, Kristie, Clay Spinuzzi, Rebecca Rickly, and Carole Clark Papper. “The Importance of Harmony: An Ecological Metaphor for Writing Research.” College Composition and Communication 60.2 (2008): 388–419.

Law, John. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. New York: Routledge, 2004.


“[A]pplying methods rigorously, yet contextually, aware of the constraints that local situations might include, and altering the application of the method in a manner that allows for rigor even if it means altering the method. In essence, the researcher follows the “spirit” of the method rather than the “letter” of the method” (225).

“I love the idea about looking at the assumptions behind methods and reality taken for granted. It’s how we should be articulating our methods, even those we borrow from other fields, if we are to make them our own” (227).

Notes: Estee Beck, Mariana Grohowski, and Kristine Blair, “Subverting Virtual Hierarchies: A Cyberfeminist Critique of Course-Management Spaces” in James P. Purdy and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss Making Space: Writing Instruction, Infrastructure, Multiliteracies

Beck, Estee, Mariana Grohowski, and Kristine Blair, “Subverting Virtual Hierarchies: A Cyberfeminist Critique of Course-Management Spaces” in James P. Purdy & Dànielle Nicole DeVoss (Eds.) Making Space: Writing Instruction, Infrastructure, and Multiliteracies. UM Press Sweetland, 2016.


Estee, Grohowski & Blair offer a cyberfeminist critique of Course-Management Spaces as well as many alternative digital spaces and the ways that these can reinscribe patriarchal authoritative values.

Keywords: Writing Studies, Rhetoric, Composition, Digital Rhetoric, Feminist Rhetorics, Multiliteracies, New Media


Arola, Kristin. (2010). The design of Web 2.0: The rise of the template, the fall of design. Computers and Composition, 27(1), 4–14.

Oh, Yeon Ju. (2012). Is your space safe? Cyberfeminist movement for space online at Unnine. In Radhika Gajjala & Yeon Ju Oh (Eds.), Cyberfeminism 2.0 (pp. 245–261). New York: Peter Lang.


“Historically, theoretically, and pedagogically, scholar–teachers have critically questioned the ability of electronic learning environments to foster a safer space for students who are potentially marginalized within the physical confines of the brick and mortar classroom”

“It is important to remember, however, that integrating digital tools does not represent a de facto commitment to empowerment and that any technology use must be aligned with curriculum and pedagogical practices that support such a goal”

“In conclusion, we call for more opportunities for both students and teachers to interrogate the existing spaces they inhabit and collaboratively work to align learning spaces with the curricular and cyberfeminist goals of accessibility and inclusiveness.”

“The potential to silence or marginalize students by acting upon the data may occur because the social and political matrices students bring with them in online spaces are not captured by the algorithms that collect user clicks, downloads, and time spent in a module in the course space”

Carolyn Steedman, “Something She Called a Fever: Michelet, Derrida, and Dust”

Steedman, Carolyn. “Something She Called a Fever: Michelet, Derrida, and Dust.” The American Historical Review, vol. 106, American Historical Association, United States, 2001..doi:10.2307/2692943.



Steedman responds to Derrida’s Archive Fever and explores the purposeful consideration and, indeed, fever to archival work, the doubled Everythingness and Nothingness that it considers.

Keywords: Archives, Methodology, Method, History


“Derrida broods on revisionist histories that have been written out of these archives of evil (a shadow of a suggestion here, then, that it is not archives he has in his sights so much as what gets written out of archives: formal, academie history); but he broods as well on never giving up on the hope of getting proof of the past, even though documentary evidence may be locked away and suppressed” (1162).

“But as English-language readers, we are forced to have the fever, and, if we are historians, forced to exasperated expostulation that archives are nothing like this at all” (1163).

“In a parody (but not quite a parody) of empirical doggedness, we might ding to the coattails of one figure of Derrida’s, one image, one literal meaning of “fever” (which wasn’t even a word that was there to start with), and find not only a different kind of sickness but also the magistrate who is actually present in his text, though wrongly named” (1164).

“It remains completely uncertain—it must remain uncertain, that is its point—who or what rises up in this moment. It cannot be determined whether it is the manuscripts or the dead or both who come to life, and take shape and form” (1171).

“The archive that isn’t there in “Archive Fever” is not and never has been the repository of official documents alone. And nothing is there from the beginning. Archives hold no origins, and origins are not what historians search for in them. Rather, they hold everything in medias res, the account caught halfway through, most of it missing, with no end ever in sight. Nothing starts in the Archive, nothing, ever at all, although things certainly end up there” (1175).

“There is everything, or Everything, the great undifferentiated past, all of it, which is not history, but just stuff.” The smallest fragment of its representation (nearly always in some kind of written language) ends up in various kinds of archives and record offices (and also in the vastly expanded data banks that Derrida refers to in “Archive Fever”). From that, you make history, which is never what was there, once upon a time. (There was only stuff, fragments, dust.)” (1176).

“Contemplating Everything, the historian must start somewhere, but starting is a different thing from originating, or even from beginning. And while there is closure in historical writing, and historians do bring their arguments and books to a conclusion, there is no End—cannot be an End, for we are still in it, the great, slow-moving Everything” (1177).

“There is a double nothingness in the writing of history and in the analysis of it: it is about something that never did happen in the way it comes to be represented (the happening exists in the telling or the text), and it is made out of materials that are not there, in an archive or anywhere else” (1179).

Notes: Marc Agué, “From Places to Non-Places” in Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity

Agué, Marc. “From Places to Non-Places” in Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, 1995: 75-115.



Agué poses non-places as the spaces of supermodernity, a shift from anthropological place.

Keywords: Anthropology, Non-Places, Space, Place


“[T]he expression Starobinski employs to evoke ancient places and rhy thms is significant: modernity does not obliterate them but pushes them into the background” (76).

“Place is completed through the word, through the allusive exchange of a few passwords between speakers who are conniving in private complicity” (76).

“The hypothesis advanced here is that supermodernity produces non-places, meaning spaces which are not themselves anthropological places and which. unlike Baudelairean modernity, do not integrate the earlier places: instead these are listed, classified, promoted to the status of ‘places of memory’, and assigned to a circumscribed and specific position” (78).

“[A] world thus surrendered to solitary individuality, to the fleeting, the temporary and ephemeral, offers the anthropologist (and others) a new object, whose unprecedented dimensions might usefully be measured before we start wondering to what sort of gaze it may be amenable” (78).

“Place and non-place are rather like opposed polarities: the first is never completely erased, the second never totally completed; they are like palimpsests on which the scrambled game of identity and relations is ceaselessly rewritten. But non-places are the real measure of our time; one that could be quantified – with the aid of a few conversions between area, volume and distance” (79).

“The distinction between places and non-place derives from the opposition between place and space. I An essential preliminary here is the analysis of the notions of place and space suggested by Michel de Certeau . He himself does not oppose ‘place’ and ‘space’ in the way that ‘place’ is opposed to ‘nonplace ‘. Space, for him, is a ‘frequented place’, ‘an intersection of moving bodies'” (79).

“[P]lurality of places, the demands it makes on the powers of observation and description (the impossibility of seeing everything or saying everything), and the resulting feeling of ‘disorientation’ (but only a temporary one: ‘This is me in front of the Parthenon,’ you will say later, forgetting that when the photo was taken you were wondering what on earth you were doing there), causes a break or discontinuity between the spectator-traveller and the space of the landscape he is contemplating or rushing through. This prevents him from perceiving it as a place” (84).

“[S]paces in which solitude is experienced as an overburdening or emptying of individuality, in which only the movement of the fleeting images enables the observer to hypothesize the existence of a past and glimpse the possibility of a future” (87).

“[T]his emptying of the consciousness, can be caused – this time in systematic, generalized and prosaic fashion – by the characteristic features of what I have proposed to call ‘supermodernity’. These subject the individual consciousness to entirely new experiences and ordeals of solitude, directly linked with the appearance and proliferation of non-places” (93).

“But the real non-places of supermodernity – the ones we inhabit when we are driving down the motorway, wandering through the supermarket or sitting in an airport lounge waiting for the next flight to London or Marseille – have the peculiarity that they are defined partly by the words and texts they offer us: their ‘instructions for use’, which may be prescriptive (‘Take right-hand lane’), prohibitive (‘No smoking’) or informative” (96).

“This establishes the traffic conditions of spaces in which individuals are supposed to interact only with texts, whose proponents are not individuals but ‘moral entities’ or institution” (96).

“Anthropological place’ is formed by individual identities, through complicities of language, local references, the unformulated rules of living know-how; non-place creates the shared identity of passengers, customers or Sunday drive” (101).

“The space of non-place creates neither singular identity nor relations; only solitude and similitude” (103).

Notes: Marc Agué, “Anthropological Place” in Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity

Agué, Marc. “Anthropological Place” in Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, 1995: 42-74.




Agué discusses and defines Anthropological Place, referring to the ways that anthropology has classically understood its intellectual objects as situated.

Keywords: Anthropology, place, space


“But this ideal of exhaustive interpretation, which a novelist would find discouraging owing to the comprehensive imaginative effort it might seem to require of him, rests on a very particular conception of the ‘average’ man, in which he too is defined as ‘total’ because, unlike the representatives of the modern elite, ‘his entire being is affected by the smallest of his perceptions or by the slightest mental shock'”(48-49).

“In so far as the culturalist view of societies tries to be systematic, its limitations are obvious: to substantify a singular culture is to ignore its intrinsically problematic character (sometimes brought to light, however, by its reactions to other cultures or to the jolts of history); to ignore, too, a complexity of social tissue and a variety of individual positions which could never be deduced from the cultural ‘text'” (50).

“We will reserve the term anthropological place for this concrete and symbolic construction of space, which could not of itself allow for the vicissitudes and contradictions of social life, but which serves as a reference for all those it assigns to a position” (51).

“These places have at least three characteristics in common. They want to be – people want them to be – places of identity, of relations and of history” (52).

“If we linger for a moment on the definition of anthropological place we will see, first, that it is geometric. It can be mapped in terms of three simple spatial forms, which apply to different institutional arrangements and in a sense are the elementary forms of social space. In geometric terms these are the line, the intersection of lines, and the point of intersection” (56-57).

“Thus, starting from simple spatial forms, we see how the individual thematic and the collective thematic intersect and combine. Political symbolism plays on these possibilities to express the power of an authority, employing the unity of a sovereign figure to unify and symbolize the internal diversities of a social collectivity” (62).

“[T]urning away, this bypassing. is not without some feeling of remorse, as we can see from the numerous signboards inviting us not to ignore the splendours of the area and its traces of history” (73).

Notes: Marc Agué “The Near and the Elsewhere,” in Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity

Agué, Marc. “The Near and the Elsewhere” in Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, 1995: 7-41.



Agué addresses walks through considerations and what may be considered disciplinary boundaries of the social sciences in terms of objects and methods and begins a discussion of the opportunities of anthropology to engage in contemporary study.

Keywords: Anthropology, Method, Methodology, Supermodernity, Non-Places, Scale


“It is therefore essential not to confuse the question of method with that of object. It has often been said (not least, on several occasions, by Levi-Strauss himself) that the modern world lends itself to ethnological observation, however bad we may be at defining areas of observation within reach of our investigative methods” (12).

“The field ethnologist’s activity throughout IS the activity of a social surveyor, a manipulator of scales, a low-level comparative language expert: he cobbles together a significant universe by exploring intermediate universes at need, in rapid surveys; or by consulting relevant documents as a historian” (13).

“[O]f the method and not the object: neither the empirical object nor, a fortiori, the intellectual, theoretical object, which presupposes comparison as well as generalization” (15).

“I am not convinced that the continuity of a discipline is proportional to that of its objects . The proposition is certainly dubious when it is applied to the life sciences, nor am I sure that these are cumulative in the sense implied by Dumont’s phrase: the outcome of research, surely, is new objects of research. It seems to me even more arguable in the case of the social sciences; for when there is change in the modes of grouping and hierarchy it is always social life that is affected, offering the researcher new objects which – like those discovered by the researcher in the life sciences – do not supersede the ones he worked on earlier, but complicate them” (17).

“The first of these concerns anthropological research: anthropological research deals in the present with the question of the other” (18).

“[R]epresentation of the individual interests anthropology not just because it is a social construction, but also because any representation of the individual is also a representation of the social link consubstantial with him” (19).

“Cultures ‘work’ like green timber, and (for extrinsic and intrinsic reasons) never constitute finished totalities; while individuals, however simple we imagine them to be, are never quite simple enough to become detached from the order that assigns them a position: they express its totality only from a certain angle” (22).

“Neither the culture located in time and space, nor the individuals in which it is embodied, defines a base level of identity above which any otherness would become unthinkable” (22).

“This overabundance, which can be properly appreciated only by bearing in mind both our overabundant information and the growing tangle of interdependences in what some already call the ‘world system’, causes undeniable difficulties to historians, especially historians of the contemporary – a denomination which the density of events over the last few decades threatens to rob of all meaning. But this problem is precisely anthropological in nature” (28).

“What is new is not that the world lacks meaning, or has little meaning, or less than it used to have; it is that we seem to feel an explicit and intense daily need to give it meaning: to give meaning to the world, not just some village or lineage…a situation we could call ‘supermodern’ to express its essential quality: excess” (29).

“We are in an era characterized by changes of scale” (31).

“This spatial overabundance works like a decoy, but a decoy whose manipulator would be very hard to identify (there is nobody pulling the strings). In very large part, it serves as a substitute for the universes which ethnology has traditionally made its own. We can say of these universes, which are themselves way: not only can they be (as we say) manipulated, but the broadcast image (which is only one among countless possible others) exercises an influence, possesses a power far in excess of any objective information it carries” (32-33).

“One of the major concerns of ethnology has bee;’ to delineate signifying spaces in the world, societies identified with cultures conceived as complete wholes” (33).

Its concrete outcome involves considerable physical modifications: urban concentrations, movements of population and the multiplication of what we call ‘non-places’, in opposition to the sociological notion of place, associated by Mauss and a whole ethnological tradition with the idea of a culture localized in time and space” (34).

“[N]ever before have individual histories been so explicitly affected by collective history, but never before, either, have the reference points for collective identification been so unstable. The individual production of meaning is more necessary than ever”(37).