Media, discourse and democracy - Teun A. van Dijk



In this conference we sketch some of the implications of a critical discourse analysis of the media in contemporary democracies.

Most of the most pressing social disasters, such as war, poverty, hunger, violence, militarism, racism and sexism, are hardly only discursive. Yet media stories about these problems (or the lack of such stories) are forms of text, talk and images that should be studied both by communication and discourse scholars.

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) has for 25 years presented theories, methods, research programs, journals and conferences, in many countries, that allow us to develop constructive critical approaches to such media discourse. My own experiences in this area are based on many years of discursive news analysis and theory, in general, and a systematic study of racism in the European press, in particular.

In the present paper, I shall pay special attention to the role of the media in the construction of democracy and identity, for instance by formulating some of the challenges of alternative media in the Latin American context, in general, and in El Salvador, in particular.

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