The Usefulness of a Critical Discourse Analysis Approach to the Study of Newspaper Reviews of Contemporary African Art in Britain

By Henrik Linden.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

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This paper discusses how critical discourse analysis (CDA) can be applied to the study of newspaper reviews of contemporary African art in Britain. CDA is an approach that has developed over the past decades, and it is usually employed in an interdisciplinary setting to interpret “language use” (in its broadest sense). One of its characteristics is that it goes against the notion that research is “objective,” but instead dependent on the context in which it is conducted. An important purpose of CDA is to investigate and reveal power relations that are otherwise difficult to detect, and herein lies the critical stance of the approach. Not generally thought of as significant from a wider social or political point of view, the art review can be a powerful means of “innocent” communication, and the British art critic is thus seen as part of a larger structure that produces (and re-produces) knowledge about African culture in the UK. The article does not propose a meticulous methodological framework but shows that CDA, due to its flexibility and heterogeneity, may function as a useful approach when studying newspaper reviews of contemporary African art in Britain.

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis, Representation, Art Criticism, Methodology, Contemporary African Art

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.29-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 436.915KB).

Henrik Linden

PhD Candidate, Centre for Culture, Media, and Creative Industries Research, King's College London, London, UK