The pitfalls of discourse analysis

1 12 2008

Discourse analysis is often accused of ‘anything goes’. In a classic paper on discourse analysis, University of Loughborough heavyweights Charles Antaki, Michael Billig, Derek Edwards and Jonathan Potter respond to this critique by distinguishing 6 analytic pitfalls in work labeled discourse analysis.

These pitfalls are:

1. under-analysis through summary;
2. under-analysis through taking sides;
3. under-analysis through over-quotation or through isolated quotation;
4. the circular identification of discourses and mental constructs;
5. false survey and;
6. analysis that consists in simply spotting features.

    In a response, Erica Burman adds three more:

    7. under-analysis through uncontested readings;
    8. under-analysis through decontextualisation and;
    9. under-analysis through not having a question

    Turn on the magic by The Frankfurt School (flickr.com)

    "Turn on the magic" by The Frankfurt School (flickr.com)

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