Politicizing Gender in Discourse: Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis as Political Perspective and Praxis

  • Michelle M. Lazar


A critical perspective on unequal social arrangements sustained through language use, with the goals of social transformation and emancipation, constitutes the cornerstone of critical discourse analysis (CDA) and many feminist language studies. Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis brings together, for the first time, an international collection of studies at the nexus of CDA and feminist scholarship (which includes feminist studies of language.)1 The specific aim of the volume is to advance a rich and nuanced understanding of the complex workings of power and ideology in discourse in sustaining a (hierarchically) gendered social order. This is especially pertinent in present times where issues of gender, power and ideology have become increasingly complex and subtle. First, feminist debates and theorization since the late 1980s have shown that speaking of ‘women’ and ‘men’ in universal, totalizing terms is problematic longer tenable. Gender as a category intersects with, and is shot through by, other categories of social identity such as sexuality, ethnicity, social position and geography. Patriarchy is also an ideological system that interacts in complex ways with say, corporatist and consumerist ideologies. Second, the workings of gender ideology and asymmetrical power relations in discourse are assuming more subtle forms in the contemporary period, albeit in different degrees and ways in different local communities.


Gender Identity Social Practice Gender Relation Gender Ideology Feminist Scholarship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bakhtin, Mikhail (1981) The Dialogic Imagination (ed. M. Holquist). Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  2. Benhabib, Seyla (1987) ‘The generalised and the concrete other: The Kohlberg— Gilligan controversy and feminist theory’, in Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell (eds), Feminism as Critique. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  3. Billig, Michael (2000) ‘Editorial: towards a critique of the critical’, Discourse & Society, 11 (3): 291–2.Google Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, Pierre (1991) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bucholtz, Mary (2003) ‘Theories of discourse as theories of gender: discourse analysis in language and gender studies’, in Janet Holmes and Miriam Meyerhoff (eds), The Handbook of Language and Gender. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, pp. 43–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Butler, Judith (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Butler, Judith (1993) Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits ofSex’. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Caldas-Coulthard, Carmen Rosa (1995) ‘Man in the news: the misrepresentation of women speaking in news-as-narrative discourse’, in Sara Mills (ed.), Language and Gender: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New York: Longman, pp. 226–39.Google Scholar
  9. Cameron, Deborah (1992) Feminism and Linguistic Theory, 2nd edn. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cameron, Deborah (1996) ‘The language-gender interface: challenging co-optation’, in Victoria Bergvall, Janet Bing and Alice Freed (eds), Rethinking Language and Gender Research: Theory and Practice. Singapore: Longman, pp. 31–52.Google Scholar
  11. Cameron, Deborah (1998) ‘Gender, language and discourse: a review essay’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 23 (4): 945–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chouliaraki, Lilie and Fairclough, Norman (1999) Discourse in Late Modernity: Rethinking Critical Discourse Analysis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Christie, Christine (2000) Gender and Language: Towards a Feminist Pragmatics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Connell, Robert W. (1987) Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Connell, Robert W. (1995) Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Eckert, Penelope (1989) ‘The whole woman: sex and gender differences in variation’, Language Variation and Change, 1: 245–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eckert, Penelope and McConnell-Ginet, Sally (1992) ‘Think practically and look locally: language and gender as community-based practice’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 21: 461–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ehrlich, Susan (2001) Representing Rape: Language and Sexual Consent. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fairclough, Norman (1989) Language and Power. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  20. Fairclough, Norman (1992) Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  21. Fairclough, Norman (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  22. Fairciough, Norman and Wodak, Ruth (1997) ‘Critical discourse analysis’, in Teun A.van Dijk (ed.), Discourse as Social Interaction. London: Sage, pp. 258–84.Google Scholar
  23. Flax, Jane (1990) ‘Postmodernism and gender relations in feminist theory’, in Linda J. Nicholson (ed.), Feminism/Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, pp. 39–62.Google Scholar
  24. Foucault, Michel (1977) Discipline and Punish. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  25. Fox-Keller, Evelyn (1996) Reflections on Gender and Science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Fraser, Nancy and Linda J. Nicholson (1990) ‘Social criticism without philosophy: an encounter between feminism and postmodernism’, in Linda J. Nicholson (ed.), Feminism/Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, pp. 19–38.Google Scholar
  27. Giddens, Anthony (1991) Modernity and Self-Identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  28. Gill, Rosalind (2004) ‘Feisty, fit chicks: the media globalization of technologies of sexiness’, paper presented at the Discourse, Globalisation and Gender Identities Conference, Cardiff University, 9–10 January 2004.Google Scholar
  29. Gramsci, Antonio (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London: Lawrence & Wishart.Google Scholar
  30. Grant, Judith (1993) Fundamental Feminism: Contesting the Core Concepts of Feminist Theory. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Hall, Kira and Bucholtz, Mary (eds) (1995), Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially Constructed Self. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Harding, Sandra (1986) The Science Question in Feminism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Hekman, Susan (1999) ‘Identity crises: identity, identity politics, and beyond’, in Susan Hekman (ed.), Feminism, Identity and Difference. London: Frank Cass, pp. 3–26.Google Scholar
  34. Hill-Collins, Patricia (1990) Black Feminist Thought. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Hirschmann, Nancy J. (1999) ‘Difference as an occasion for rights: a feminist rethinking of rights, liberalism, and difference’, in Susan Hekman (ed.), Feminism, Identity and Difference. London: Frank Cass, pp. 27–55.Google Scholar
  36. hooks, bell (1984) Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Boston, MA: South End Press.Google Scholar
  37. Johnson, Sally and Meinhof, Ulrike Hanna (eds) (1997) Language and Masculinity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  38. Kitzinger, Celia (2000) ‘Doing feminist conversation analysis’, Feminism & Psychology, 10 (2): 163–93.Google Scholar
  39. Kotthoff, Helga and Wodak, Ruth (eds) (1997), Communicating Gender in Context. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  40. Kress, Gunther (1990) ‘Critical Discourse Analysis’, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 11: 84–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kress, Gunther and van Leeuwen, Theo (1996) Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Lather, Patti (1986)‘Research as praxis’, Harvard Educational Review, 56 (3): 257–77.Google Scholar
  43. Lazar, Michelle M. (1993) ‘Equalizing gender relations: a case of double-talk’, Discourse & Society, 4 (4): 443–65.Google Scholar
  44. Lazar, Michelle M. (1999) ‘Family life advertisements and the narrative of heterosexual sociality’, in Phyllis G. L. Chew and Anneliese Kramer-Dahl (eds), Reading Culture: Textual Practices in Singapore. Singapore: Times Academic Press, pp. 145–62.Google Scholar
  45. Lazar, Michelle M. (2000) ‘Gender, discourse and semiotics: the politics of parenthood representations’, Discourse & Society, 11 (3): 373–400.Google Scholar
  46. Lazar, Michelle M. (2001) ‘Dissonant discourses: women and feminism in contemporary Singapore’, ms.Google Scholar
  47. Lazar, Michelle M. (2002) ‘Women beyond borders’, Visual Communication, 1 (3): 337–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lazar, Michelle M. (2004) ‘(Post-) feminism in contemporary advertising: a global discourse in a local context’, paper presented at the Discourse, Globalisation and Gender Identities Conference, Cardiff University, 9–10 January 2004.Google Scholar
  49. Litosseliti, Lia and Sunderland, Jane (eds) (2002), Gender Identity and Discourse Analysis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  50. Martin Rojo, Luisa and Gómez Esteban, ConcepciOn (2003) ‘Discourse at work: when women take on the role of manager’, in Gilbert Weiss and Ruth Wodak (eds), Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory and Interdisciplinarity. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 241–71.Google Scholar
  51. McElhinny, Bonnie S. (1995) ‘Challenging hegemonic masculinities: female and male police officers handling domestic violence’, in Kira Hall and Mary Bucholtz (eds), Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially Constructed Self. New York: Routledge, pp. 217–43.Google Scholar
  52. Mills, Sara (1995) Feminist Stylistics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Moghadam, Valentine M. (1994) ‘Introduction: women and identity politics in theoretical and comparative perspective’, in Valentine M. Moghadam (ed.), Identity Politics and Women: Cultural Reassertions and Feminisms in International Perspective. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 3–26.Google Scholar
  54. Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, Russo, Ann and Torres, Lourdes (eds) (1991), Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Schegloff, Emanuel A. (1997) ‘Whose text? Whose context?’, Discourse & Society, 8 (2): 165–87.Google Scholar
  56. Scollon, Ron (2001) ‘Action and text: towards an integrated understanding of the place of text in social (inter)action, mediated discourse analysis and the problem of social action’, in Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer (eds), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage, pp. 139–83.Google Scholar
  57. Segal, Lynne (1999) Why Feminism? Gender, Psychology, Politics. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Spender, Dale (1981) Men’s Studies Modified: The Impact of Feminism on the Academic Disciplines. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  59. Spender, Dale (1985) Man Made Language, 2nd edn. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  60. Stokoe, Elizabeth H. and Weatherall, Ann (2002) ‘Guest editorial: gender, language, conversation analysis and feminism’, Discourse & Society, 13 (6): 707–13.Google Scholar
  61. Talbot, Mary M. (1998) Language and Gender: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  62. Van Dijk, Teun A. (1991) ‘Editorial: discourse analysis with a cause’, The Semiotic Review of Books, 2 (1): 1–2.Google Scholar
  63. Van Dijk, Teun A. (1993) ‘Principles of critical discourse analysis’, Discourse & Society, 4 (2): 249–83.Google Scholar
  64. Van Dijk, Teun A. (1994a) ‘Editorial: discourse analysis as social analysis’, Discourse & Society, 5 (2): 163–4.Google Scholar
  65. Van Dijk, Teun A. (1994b) ‘Editorial: academic nationalism’, Discourse & Society, 5 (3): 275–6.Google Scholar
  66. Van Dijk, Teun A. (1996) ‘Discourse, power and access’, in Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard and Malcolm Coulthard (eds), Texts and Practices: Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge, pp. 84–104.Google Scholar
  67. Walter, Natasha (1999) The New Feminum. London: Virago Press.Google Scholar
  68. Weedon, Chris (1997) Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, 2nd edn. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  69. West, Candace (1990) ‘Not just doctor’s orders: directive-response sequences in patients’ visits to women and men physicians’, Discourse & Society, 1 (1): 85–112.Google Scholar
  70. West, Candace and Zimmerman, Don (1987) ‘Doing gender’, Gender & Society, 1 (2): 125–51.Google Scholar
  71. West, Candace, Lazar, Michelle M. and Kramarae, Cheris (1997) ‘Gender in discourse’, in Teun A.van Dijk (ed.), Discourse as Social Interaction. London: Sage, pp. 119–43.Google Scholar
  72. Wetherell, Margaret (1995) ‘Romantic discourse and feminist analysis: interrogating investment, power and desire’, in Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger (eds), Feminism and Discourse: Psychological Perspectives. London: Sage, pp. 128–44.Google Scholar
  73. Widdowson, Henry (1995) ‘Discourse analysis: a critical view’, Language and Literature, 4 (3): 157–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Wilkinson, Sue and Kitzinger, Celia (1995) ‘Introduction’, in Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger (eds), Feminism and Discourse: Psychological Perspectives. London: Sage, pp. 1–9.Google Scholar
  75. Wodak, Ruth (ed.) (1997), Gender and Discourse. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  76. Wodak, Ruth and Meyer, Michael (eds) (2001), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michelle M. Lazar 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle M. Lazar

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations