Critical discourse analysis of selected speeches on women

Research Area: College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Status: Finished Degree: Bachelor
  • Correa, Zea lo Ming P.
Proposed start date: 2004-03-18 Proposed end date: 2005-03-18

This study was undertaken to examine the feminist discourse reflected in five selected speeches of Davao City Councilor Angela Librado. The selected speeches were those which only dealt on women's issues and concerns. To investigate on Librado's feminist discourse, I identified the variables in her speeches which could reflect her ideology and these included thematic concerns, organizational structures, transactivity and use of pronoun. The analysis of the study was grounded on the basic theoretical assumption of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) focusing on the dialectical connection between text and context. Through this dialectical connection, I looked at the interplay of her feminist standpoint, her speeches and the context of her speeches. I focused on looking at the variables which I have identified and probed  on how, through these variables, her ideologies were manifested in her speeches. The thematic concern and organizational structure revealed her feminist positions in conveying the issues  and concerns of women. On the other hand, investigating on her use of  language – that is the transactivity of her clauses/sentences and the use of, using Roger Fowler's term, “pronouns of solidarity and power,” revealed a contradicting ideology. Looking at the transactive and non-transactive forms of clauses/sentences, I found out the Librado rarely positioned women as active agents in statements portraying women in subjected role and in statements that call for action to change women's situation. Her use of “pronoun of solidarity”. On the other hand, result showed that she refers frequently to women when using  the “pronouns of power”. These results indicated that while Librado speaks of the marginalized sector of women, she rarely appeared to be in unity with them. I have concluded that Librado's use of language, although it speaks of women, tends to reproduce women's powerlessness in the society which could have stemmed from several possible reasons. One assumption that I have included was the difference in social class between Librado and the marginalized sector of women, therefore there was a limited instance were she expressed her unity with the oppressed sector. Another possibility is her national democratic ideology which considers the national issues as superior to or encompassing women's concern. However, since the study is limited to analyzing the text as the material for the study, the abvementioned possibilities remain as assumptions. The study maybe an example of how the use of CDA could reveal the manifestations and implications of ideology in communication. Most importantly, being a critical discipline, the study could provide constructive criticism and alternatives for institutions or practitioners who are faced with the everyday interaction with communication.