Utility. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) examines language as a social tool and explores the relationship between language use, social practices, and dynamics of power and politics in society. CDA helps us understand the ways in which discourse is often embedded alongside systems of power, driving and reinforcing stereotypes, upholding the status quo, and perpetuating white supremacist, patriarchal, and ageist beliefs, norms, and social structures. As a method, CDA allows us to analyze evolving social justice issues and constructions of marginalized populations to lay bare oppressive and taken-for-granted dynamics within society and imagine anti-oppressive forms of knowledge creation.
Purpose. We discuss the utility of CDA in critiquing existing discourses and offer methodological techniques across three content areas: age, race, and gender, to provide examples of how public and scholarly discourses have emerged and been reinforced during the pandemic.
Content Areas. Collectively, we will discuss pandemic-related discourses and developing social justice issues across the content areas of age, race, and gender. Each content area will conclude with a discussion of how the findings can be leveraged to promote social justice.
(1) Age- we will discuss representations of ageism, intergenerational conflict, and intersections with ableist discourses.
(2) Race- we will discuss racism during the pandemic and the relationship to enduring educational inequities, alongside the deficit-based portrayals regarding a year of "learning loss" for students.
(3) Gender- we will discuss the recent framings of caregivers, emotional labor, and intimate partner violence.
Opportunities for Learning. After this brief presentation, we will facilitate a discussion exploring additional topic areas of potential CDA within the interest areas of the attendees. We will encourage discussion of the utility of CDA to interrogate and promote social justice within and beyond the field of social work.
Implications. Social work scholars and practitioners are poised to advocate for social justice. An important part of this work is to develop awareness of--and skills to address--discursive frames that contribute to further marginalization of disadvantaged groups. This roundtable highlights the hegemonic power structures that fuel discourse which may present barriers to our pursuits of social justice. In constructing a better tomorrow, the discourses we use make all the difference.