Document Type


Publication Date





Critical discourse analysis is a rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field of inquiry that combines linguistic analysis and social theory to address the way power and dominance are enacted and reproduced in text. Critical discourse analysis is primarily concerned with the construction of social phenomena and involves a focus on the wider social, political, and historical contexts in which talk and text occur, exploring the way in which theories of reality and relations of power are encoded and enacted in language. Critical discourse analysis moves beyond considering what the text says to examining what the text does. As an interdisciplinary and eclectic field of inquiry, critical discourse analysis has no unifying theoretical perspective, standard formula, or essential methods. As such, there is much confusion around what critical discourse analysis is, what it is not, and the types of projects for which it can be fruitfully employed. This article seeks to provide clarity on critical discourse analysis as an approach to research and to highlight its relevance to social work scholarship, particularly in relation to its vital role in identifying and analyzing how discursive practices establish, maintain, and promote dominance and inequality.


This paper was published in the journal Qualitative Social Work in January 2021. The final published version can be found at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1473325021990860

Included in

Social Work Commons