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Discourse and PracticeNew Tools for Critical Analysis$
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Theo van Leeuwen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195323306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323306.001.0001

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Representing Social Actors

Representing Social Actors

(p.23) 2 Representing Social Actors
Discourse and Practice

Theo Van Leeuwen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a framework for analyzing how the participants of social practices can be, and are, represented in English discourse. It outlines and exemplifies the social and critical import of the categories of this framework and details the realization of each category. After discussing the discursive exclusion of social actors and the role social actors can play in discourse, the representation of social actors as groups (assimilation) and as individuals (individualization), the ways in which actors can be categorized (e.g. functionalization, categorization, relational identity) and the metonyms and abstractions that can conceal human agency behind institutions (institutionalization) or behind the means of action (instrumentalization) is addressed. A newspaper article about immigration is analyzed to bring out the potential of the methodology for critical discourse analysis.

Keywords:   critical discourse analysis, social actors, exclusion, assimilation, individualization, functionalization, categorization, abstraction, institutionalization, instrumentalization

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