A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF THREAT: A CASE STUDY OF ASARI DOKUBO’S UTTERANCES

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A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF THREAT: A CASE STUDY OF ASARI DOKUBO’S UTTERANCES (ENGLISH AND LINGUISTIC PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)

Abstract

This study seeks to investigate the highly sensitive utterances of threat by Asari Dokubo in his struggle for the political and economic emancipation of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria; utterances that clearly portray his ideological leaning. Our analysis is linked to Norman Fairclough(1995) as quoted in Horvath Juraj(2010) that texts portray ideology which in turns are ‘open to diverse interpretations’(Horvath Juraj:2010). Selected utterances of Dokubo are analyzed and the findings reveal his political and regional sentiments.

INTRODUCTION

Discourse analysis is generally an umbrella term for the many traditions by which discourse may be analysed. It is a critique of cognitivism that developed from the 1970s onwards, although it has its roots in the ‘turn to language’ in the 1950s (Woolgar, 1988). Whereas cognitivism speaks of objective, observable, knowable reality, on the other hand discourse analysis speaks of multiple versions of reality, multiple ‘truths’, which are constructed through texts, therefore there are correspondingly multiple versions of analyses. Here, language is viewed as a social performance or a social action – it is productive and constitutive (language both creates social phenomena and is representative of social phenomena). The method explores power relations from a critical standpoint in an attempt to make sense of the social world by providing new critical insights – a positive contribution to both theory and research.

According to Van Dijk (1998a) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is a field that is concerned with studying and analyzing written and spoken texts to reveal the discursive sources of power, dominance, inequality and bias. It examines how these discursive sources are maintained and reproduced within specific social, political and historical contexts. In a similar vein, Fairclough (1993) defines CDA as discourse analysis which aims to systematically explore often opaque relationships of causality and determination between (a) discursive practices, events and texts, and (b) wider social and cultural structures, relations and processes; to investigate how such practices, events and texts arise out of and are ideologically shaped by relations of power and struggles over power; and to explore how the opacity of these relationships between discourse and society is itself a factor securing power and hegemony. (p. 135) To put it simply, CDA aims at making transparent the connections between discourse practices, social practices, and social structures; connections that might be opaque to the layperson. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context. With such dissident research, critical discourse analysts take explicit position, and thus want to understand, expose, and ultimately resist social inequality.

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A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF THREAT: A CASE STUDY OF ASARI DOKUBO’S UTTERANCES (ENGLISH AND LINGUISTIC PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)

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