A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF TAIWAN’S NATIONAL DEBATE ON ECONOMIC TIES WITH CHINA
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) views language as “social practice” (Fairclough & Wodak 1997:258), studying and analyzing written and spoken texts to unfold the sources of power, dominance, and inequality (van Dijk 2001). CDA is used to describe, interpret, and explain the relationship between language and society, which is much different from other discourse analysis methods (Rogers 2004). The major goals of CDA are to “critically analyze those who are in power, those who are responsible, and those who have the means and the opportunity” to deal with social problems (van Dijk 1986: 4). Among many CDA theorists, van Dijk’s (1993) socio-cognitive model has been widely referenced and applied in the analysis of media discourse. However, there is little research analyzing debate discourse by van Dijk’s model. Therefore, the discourse in this study was analyzed using van Dijk’s model in order to describe, interpret, and explain the relationship between language and power in the national debate on the issue of Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) held in Taiwan. The ECFA debate is about 142 minutes long, held on April 25, 2010. The reason for holding this national debate was to familiarize the Taiwanese people with the contents of the ECFA and to publicize the benefits of signing it with Mainland China. The data of the ECFA debate was analyzed based on van Dijk’s socio-cognitive model and then categorized into three themes: discourse representing Us versus Them, evasion, and diversity of the discourse. Through the above analysis, the study is to reveal that dominance and power are manifested in language (Wodak 2001; Van Dijk 1993, 2001).
Key words: Critical Discourse Analysis, the ECFA debate