The Main Approaches to CDA/CDS

Theresa Catalano, Linda R. Waugh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses further the relationship between CDA and CDS, and the panoply of work in CDA/CDS, and then outlines the seven most common and best known approaches that are frequently cited in the literature, are used in the most publications, have appeared in major journals in the field (e.g., Discourse and Society, Critical Discourse Studies, Discourse Studies, Social Semiotics, etc.) and are currently commonly used by scholars. These are the dialectical-relational (DRA), sociocognitive (SCA), discourse-historical (DHA), social semiotic/multimodal (MCDA), Foucauldian dispositive analysis (DPA), corpus linguistic (CorpLingA), and cognitive linguistic (CogLing) approaches. A comparison of these frameworks and how widely they are known and listed as ‘approaches’ across CDA/CDS scholarship is given in Table 4.1 (which also lists a few others). For each one, we provide an explanation of its origins and development over time, associated scholars and research focus(es), as well as central concepts and distinguishing features. And we give their definition of ‘discourse’ and, when applicable, ‘critique/critical’, ‘context’, ‘power’, ‘history’, ‘ideology’ since they vary significantly from one approach to another. We end each section of this chapter by providing citations of articles so that readers interested in any particular approach to CDA/CDS can easily find some of the most recent work in that area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages63
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815


  • Approach(es)
  • Cognitive linguistic
  • Corpus linguistic
  • Dialectical-relational
  • Discourse-historical
  • Dispositive analysis
  • Multimodal
  • Social semiotic
  • Sociocognitive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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