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Critical Discourse Analysis of a media text

This essay will analyse an article taken from the magazine 'The Big Issue' (No.776). This will be done using discourse theory, where three different levels of deconstruction will take place. It will analyse the article at the level of text, discursive practice and social practice; laying focus on the purpose of the article, the writer's intent and the reader's interpretation of the text. 

The article is entitled 'Cut It Out' and the subject matter is climate change. It is written in English and targeted at a readership with an understanding of the English language. When analysing this article at the level of text, it is evident that syntax, lexicon and other historically formulated grammatical rules have been used. For example the text is organised into sentences and paragraphs and is written to tell a story - with a beginning, middle and end. Additionally the language used in the text follows socially established rules, such as 'correct' use of spelling and grammar. Each word acts as a sign that signifies an established meaning.

If we take the example of the term 'climate change' again and place it within this social context, it is evident that when seeing these words; on a discursive level the reader will be reminded of things that he/she has learned. In this respect the term may bring ideas of global warming, renewable energy resources and holes in the ozone layer to their mind. These can be considered to be ideological myths or second-order meanings of a sign. Fairclough has suggested that this type of expansion on a code links  "the 'macro' domain of state, government and policy with the 'micro' domain of discursive practice" (Fairclough: 1995:87).

In conclusion the deconstruction of this piece of text using critical discourse theory has proven that language and communication within society is not only a result of a complex set of linguistic rules but many layers of meaning hidden behind what seem like simple signs. These messages are ideological in nature and can be accepted in a variety of different ways by the reader of a text. Media discourse is an important aspect of human behavior and an inter-disciplinary approach to analysis is vital to deconstructing any media text.

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