Examining gender in an autobiography and a children's novel: possibilities and challenges of applying feminist CDA

Sanna Lehtonen, Piia Varis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

Abstract

Although critical discourse analysts have usually examined shorter texts, some proponents of CDA and feminist CDA (Mills 1991, Stephens 1992, Talbot 1995, Sunderland 2004) have also researched longer texts, such as children's fiction. Such analyses, however, are rare, despite the fact that in principle there are no theoretical or methodological reasons for not applying CDA to longer literary works, whether fictional or nonfictional. Furthermore, longer narrative texts such as autobiographies and works of fiction are sites where gendered identities are discursively constructed, and hence provide fruitful data for investigating gender relations. Thus, longer texts should not be ignored as data for feminist CDA. Unlike some poststructuralist theorisations of gender, feminist CDA has the advantage of not remaining on the theoretical level in its analyses of gendered discourses, but, instead, feminist CDA examines the realisations of gendered discourses in specific texts and contexts, thus adding depth and rigour to the analysis. In our paper, we will map out some insights and challenges in applying feminist CDA to longer texts, i.e. an autobiography and a children's novel. We will also discuss the ways in which CDA can benefit from insights from narrative theory in analyses of longer narrative texts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th Biennial International Gender and Language Association Conference IGALA 5
EditorsJulia de Bres, Janet Holmes, Meredith Marra
Place of PublicationWellington, New Zealand
PublisherVictoria University
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0475105419
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventBiennial International Gender and Language Association Conference (5th : 2008) - Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 3 Jul 20085 Jul 2008

Conference

ConferenceBiennial International Gender and Language Association Conference (5th : 2008)
CityWellington, New Zealand
Period3/07/085/07/08

Keywords

  • feminist critical discourse analysis
  • narrative
  • autobiography
  • children's literature

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