Critical Discourse Analysis of Religious Sermons in Egypt-Case Study of Amr Khalid's Sermons

By Eldin, Ahmad Abdel Tawwab Sharaf | International Education Studies, November 2014 | Go to article overview

Critical Discourse Analysis of Religious Sermons in Egypt-Case Study of Amr Khalid's Sermons


Eldin, Ahmad Abdel Tawwab Sharaf, International Education Studies


Abstract

This paper attempts to provide an ideological approach within a critical discourse analysis (CDA) in order to investigate the Islamic discourse and to trace the ideological devices in Amr Khalid's sermons. In so doing, this paper tries to show how language, employed in Khalid's sermons, reflects the common conceptual structures and interrelationships between him and his audience. The study is also concerned with uncovering certain forms of ideological disguises and demystifying power relations in discourse within specific context. This approach makes it possible to explore the tension between idealism and pragmatism, the conflict between 'us' and 'them', and the other aspects of ideologies existing in the Khalid's sermon.

Keywords: discourse analysis, strategic functions, persuasion devices, modality, idealism and pragmatism, ideological devices

1. Introduction

Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a branch of discourse analysis which, in the late of 1980s, has been discussed by many linguists such as Fairclough and Van Dijk. CDA may be seen as a reaction against the dominant uncritical paradigms of the linguistic theory. It requires multidisciplinary approach and an account of intricate relationship between text, talk, social cognition, power, society, and culture. Van Dijk is regarded as one of the most quoted scholars in the field of critical studies especially in media discourse. As part of the discourse structure, he asserts the concept of production processes. Van Dijk (1988) contends the journalistic and institutional practices of news-making and the economic and social practices. Reception processes involve the comprehension, memorization, and reproduction of information in the short and long term memories. In this respect, Van Dijk (1983, p. 17) handles the notion of evaluative beliefs or opinions associated with general models. Generalized models and schemata formation entail generalizations and abstractions of these evaluative beliefs in the reception process.

In this sense, Van Dijk (1995, p. 18) shows the link between such mental representation and abstract concepts of ideology as "ideologies are the overall, abstract mental systems that organize the socially shared attitudes." In his understanding of discourse, Van Dijk (1995, p. 2) calls the mental representations of individuals during such social actions and interactions "models." In his view, such mental representations or models influence the way in which people act, speak, write, or understand the social practices. Van Dijk realizes that attitudes cannot be mentioned through cognition only, rather it is also through the linguistic practice. Thus, he links his cognitive models of racism with the study of CDA.

2. Theoretical Background

The purpose of the present study is to assess the role of ideology in religious discourse. According to Williams (1976, p. 126), the word "ideology," first appeared in English in 1796, as a direct translation of the new French word "ideologie" which had been proposed in that year by philosopher Destutt de Tracy to denote the "science of ideas." A contentious argument in CDA has been how discourse may manifest or at least implicate the ideologies of the discourse participants. By restoring the focus upon discourse in society, CDA offers an occasion to subject ideology to new methods of investigation and to formulate an explicit ideology in discourse. For Fairclough (1992), through power relations implicit in discourse, ideology can appear. He makes three claims about ideology, based in part on the French Marxist philosopher, Althusser. Fairclough (1992a) explains that ideology functions in discourse appear through dominant discourse in terms of what the Marxist theorist and activist Gramsci called "hegemony".

Hegemony is a form of control through consensus, as contrasted with control based on coercion (force or threat of force). For Fairclough (1992), hegemony operates through orders of discourse of a society and institutions such as education, media, and business. …

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