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Analysing Political Discourse II: Analyses and Applications

Course Dates and Times

Monday 10 August – Friday 14 August

09:00–10:30 & 11:00–12:30


Michal Krzyzanowski

Uppsala Universitet

This course offers a comprehensive introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as a theoretical and empirical approach to research on dynamics of contemporary political change.

It highlights key approaches in CDA, especially its so-called ‘Viennese’ or Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA), widely recognised for its systematic and empirically funded work on national and supranational politics in Europe.

The course presents CDA as theory and practice, in the context of various linguistic and social-scientific approaches to text and discourse studies, and developments in social and political theory.

You can take this course and Analysing Political Discourse I independently of each other, or as a single two-week module (strongly advised).

Week 1 – Analysing Political Discourse I (SD102A)
Devoted to theoretical and analytical groundwork. I will introduce history and development of text and discourse studies as well as to CDA and its relationship to other approaches in discourse analysis. You will become familiar with research design in CDA/DHA as an example of qualitative research practice.

Week 2 – Analysing Political Discourse II (SD102B)
You will learn the key steps and categories of CDA/DHA-inspired analysis. You will improve your analytical skills using various analytical categories and paths, and different types of empirical material, analysed in a series of in- and out-of-class individual and group assignments. You will be presented with a series of applications of CDA/DHA in various analyses of contemporary politics, policy and political institutions.

ECTS Credits for this course and, below, tasks for additional credits.

2 credits Attend all classes, participate actively in, and complete, all in-class assignments, as an individual and in groups.

3 credits As above, plus ​​​conduct research and analyses and contribute to the presentation of an out-of-class group assignment (scope, topics and format to be discussed). Presentations must be emailed to the Instructor by 19:00 CET on Thursday 8 August, and will take place during the noon session on Friday 9 August.

4 credits As above, plus write a take-home paper in academic journal format (6,500 words max; scope and topics to be agreed with the Instructor) presenting application of CDA/DHA in contemporary political research in the area of your choosing. Paper must be emailed to the Instructor by 17:00 CET on Friday 23 August, two weeks after the end of the Summer School.

Instructor Bio

Since 2020 Michał has held the Chair in Media and Communication Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Michał is a leading expert in critical discourse studies. His key areas of interest are political, policy and organisational communication as well as media and journalism. He is particularly known for his work on right-wing populism, anti-immigration rhetoric as well as for his research on neoliberal discourses and dynamics of democracy in the context of socio-political transformations.

Michał is also widely recognised for his work on methodological innovations in qualitative research, including discourse-ethnographic analysis of organisational and journalistic practices or discourse-conceptual analysis of dynamics of policy and political discourse.

Read Michał's full biography on the Uppsala University website.


Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is a way of carrying out social research with a focus on ‘discourse’ i.e. on text and other forms of semiosis analysed in their contexts of use, production and reception. CDA has become extremely popular in recent years as one of the key largely qualitative approaches to social and political change used across the variety of social and political sciences.

By offering comprehensive introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis as an approach to research on dynamics of contemporary political change, this course wishes to outline key theoretical foundations, methodological premises and analytical pathways in CDA. In doing so, the course wishes to highlight those aspects of critical-analytic studies which make them particularly useful to interdisciplinary and context-related explorations of contemporary politics. By showing similarities and differences between CDA – and especially one of its major traditions known as the Discourse-Historical Approach (or DHA) – and other discourse-based approaches widely-used in social and political studies, the course wishes to highlight such advantages of CDA/DHA research as, inter alia, systematic approach to analysis or its clear relation to the levels of pre-analytical theorising and post-analytical interpretation.

The course also aims at clarifying several misconceptions and misinterpretations of CDA that are widespread in social- and political-scientific research. For example, as CDA is often approached from a limited perspective i.e. as just a ‘method’ rather than a coherent approach with a distinct theory and methodology, the course wishes to show a variety of theories, methods and analyses deployed in critical-analytical explorations including at the intersection of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Also, as CDA is also often viewed as a homogeneous approach, the course wishes to discard such criticism while showing CDA a heterogeneous research tradition that consists of several schools which, while sharing general principles (on e.g. the relation between language and power, ideology), differ in their theoretical and methodological ontology as well as their analytical pathways and foci.

However, the major aim of the course is practical as it is geared towards making students familiar with the ways of analysing political and related discourses from a critical-analytic as well as discourse-historical perspective. For this reason, whether within lectures or the related discussion or hands-on analysis workshops, the course aims at showing the practical application of presented theories, methods and analyses. These will be related to studies of a wide array of genres incl. those from within the political field itself (e.g. parliamentary and other speeches, party programmes, etc.) as well as from within the related fields of policy-making and administration (regulations, policy documents, etc.) or of media and its representations of politics (reporting, interviews, debates, etc.). The analyses of those genres will be guided by such DHA principles as, inter alia, ‘interdiscursivity’ or ‘recontextualisation’ which allow for relating discourses produced synchronically and diachronically as well as across different contexts and within different texts and genres.

You can take this course and Analysing Political Discourse I independently of each other, or as a single two-week module (strongly advised if you want to acquire a thorough theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as in-depth analytical skills in CDA).

Analysing Political Discourse II will deepen your knowledge and skills in, and related to, Critical Discourse Studies, especially its Discourse-Historical and related approaches. We will focus on different types of research designs and analyses conducted with CDA/DHA.

The week opens with an all-day hands-on analytical workshop during which you will become familiar with pathways of analysis in CDA/DHA performed in a systematic manner i.e. along a set of clearly defined analytical categories.

The focus is on the major (i.e. entry and in-depth) levels of analysis in CDA/DHA and on showing you how static and pragmatic aspects of text and discourse can be analysed in a systematic manner. The workshop also focuses on pre-analytical procedures such as, in particular, genre classification. I will show how systematic analysis of discursive strategies can be applied in diachronic analyses of discourse that takes into account recontextualisation of discursive elements across the scales of space and time. We will practice analysis on a variety of genres in politics and the public sphere, performed from the point of view of various political and politicised debates.

Lectures on Days 7–9 show how CDA/DHA can be applied to explorations of practices in a political, policy and politico-institutional context. They focus on various ‘integrative’ approaches that combine CDA/DHA and other types of analysis, facilitating exploration of increasingly complex objects of critical-analytic investigation in contemporary politics.

The two-part lecture on Day 7 looks in detail at ways of analysing ‘Discourse and Politics’, with special interest in defining political discourses as such, and in showcasing how populist discourses can be explored by means of CDA/DHA. The lecture starts by outlining some of the key concepts relevant for the discourse-based studies of contemporary politics and right-wing populism before looking into standard features of populist discourses as well as discussing their key foci such as anti-immigration or Islamophobia. It also looks at the spread of populist discourses across the political spectrum (including in mainstream parties) as well as outside the strictly political realm, including in the online uncivil society.

On Day 8, the morning lecture continues with applications of CDA/DHA and shows how ‘Discourse and Policy’ can be explored. It showcases the so-called Discourse-Conceptual Analysis which, drawing on DHA and Historical Semantics/Conceptual History, allows us to investigate the change of salient social and political concepts and related discourses. We will cover a variety of genres, including policy and policy-communication texts that often serve sustaining regulatory regimes as well as the spread of neoliberalism-induced ideologies and practices.

The morning lecture on Day 9 looks at ‘Discourse and Political Institutions’ and argues for a Discourse-Ethnographic approach that allows us to explore various types of political institutions while relating observation of various forms of institutional/organisational practices to the array of discourses entangled in producing institutionally specific political meanings. The special focus is on deconstructing politico-institutional realities and the formation of various types of identities. The lecture also relates internal organisational realities of political institutions to the patterns of their internal and external communication, including via social/online media.

While the lectures on Days 7–9 showcase key areas and types of politics that can be explored from the point of view of CDA/DHA, the core of this week remains the student-centred sessions at noon on Days 8 and 9, and throughout Day 10.

The noon session on Day 8 and the morning session on Day 10 are workshops exploring potential avenues of analysis of students’ research ideas and material. These workshops acquaint you with the pathways and categories of analysis, give practical advice on how to carry out CDA/DHA analyses in specific research projects, and pilot-test those analyses among group members. In each workshop, two or three students will present their research projects (max 6 slides about main hypotheses and research questions, key theoretical and methodological foundations and the outline of the analysed empirical material) and provide sample material that will be analysed by the class from the point of view of CDA/DHA, under the guidance of the instructor.

If you want to present, discuss and analyse your material during these workshops, please email the instructor:

  1. Your presentation
  2. A one-page (max.) abstract of your MA/PhD or other current research, along with a short bio
  3. One or two A4 samples of empirical material for analysis by the group.

Deadline for sending material: Friday 28 June 2019. Once you have registered for the course, in mid-late May at the latest, email the instructor to reserve your slot.

The noon session on Day 9 involves individual consultations with the instructor to discuss your research projects and ideas. You can register for these at the beginning of the week.

During the noon session on Day 10, we will present the results of out-of-class group assignments, and have a final Q&A. 

The aim of this course is to transfer and generate knowledge from discussions and interactions between the instructor and participants.

You should ask critical questions, complete all obligatory readings, participate in all in-class tasks and discussions, complete out-of-class assignments, and relate the knowledge gained to your current and future research.

You should have good, proven knowledge of the existent discourse- and language-oriented approaches to social and political analysis (especially those taught in Analysing Political Discourse I). You should also be familiar with selected aspects of social theory, especially those relevant for the discourse-analytic approaches discussed during the course (see Long Course Outline, below).

You should also be open to new, interdisciplinary qualitative methods of research in social and political sciences and interested in synchronic and/or diachronic analyses of contemporary national and supranational politics in Europe and beyond, also in relation to other fields such as media, institutions, policy-making, etc.

Each course includes pre-course assignments, including readings and pre-recorded videos, as well as daily live lectures totalling at least two and a half hours. The instructor will conduct live Q&A sessions and offer designated office hours for one-to-one consultations.

Please check your course format before registering.

Online courses

Live classes will be held daily for two and half hours on a video meeting platform, allowing you to interact with both the instructor and other participants in real-time. To avoid online fatigue, the course employs a pedagogy that includes small-group work, short and focused tasks, as well as troubleshooting exercises that utilise a variety of online applications to facilitate collaboration and engagement with the course content.


This course description may be subject to subsequent adaptations (e.g. taking into account new developments in the field, participant demands, group size, etc.). Registered participants will be informed at the time of change.

By registering for this course, you confirm that you possess the knowledge required to follow it. The instructor will not teach these prerequisite items. If in doubt, please contact us before registering.

Day Topic Details
10, Friday Session 1, 09:00–10:30

Analysing Discourse in/and Politico-Institutional Practice (Lecture)

10, Friday Session 2, 10:45–12:30

Presentation and Discussion of Out-of-Class Group Projects with CDA/DHA Analyses (Workshop)

Final Q&A, Discussion, Revision

6, Monday Session 1, 09:00–10:30

Introduction to Week II

Pathways of Analysis in CDA/DHA:

Pre-Analytical Procedures & Categories (Workshop)

7, Tuesday Both sessions

Pathways of Analysis in CDA/DHA: 
Procedures and Categories of In-Depth Analysis (Workshop)

Session 2

Discourse and Politics: Populist Discursive Practices (Lecture – Part II)

8, Wednesday Session 1, 09:00–10:30

Analysing Discursive Shifts in Politics and Beyond (Lecture)

8, Wednesday Session 2, 10:45–12:30

Presentation and Group Discussion of Student Research Projects with CDA/DHA Analyses of Sample Student Materials (2 projects, max. 45 minutes each)

9, Thursday Session 1, 09:00–10:30

Analysing Discourses and Socio-Political Concepts (Lecture)

9, Thursday Session 2, 10:45–12:30

Individual Consultations to Discuss Student Research Projects (max. 5–6 projects, 20 minutes each)

6, Monday Session 2, 10:45–12:30

Pathways of Analysis in CDA/DHA: 
Procedures and Categories of Entry-Level Analysis (Workshop)
Discussion of Out-of-Class Group Assignments for Week 2

Day Readings
6, Monday and 7, Tuesday

Sessions 1 and 2

van Dijk, T.A. (1991)
The Interdisciplinary Study of News as Discourse
In: K. Bruhn-Jensen and N. Jankowski (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Mass Communication Research pp.108–120
London: Routledge

Krzyżanowski, M. (2010)
The Discursive Construction of European Identities especially Chapter 2
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang

Reisigl, M. and R. Wodak (2001)
Discourse and Discrimination especially Chapter 2, The Discourse-Historical Analysis of the Rhetoric of Racism and Antisemitism, pp. 31–90
London: Routledge

van Leeuven, T. (2008)
Discourse and Practice Chapter 2, Representing Social Actors, pp. 23–54
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

8, Wednesday

Session 1

Krzyżanowski, M. (2018)
Discursive Shifts in Ethno-Nationalist Politics: On Politicisation and Mediatisation of the ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Poland
Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 16(1–2), 76–96

Krzyżanowski, M. (2018)
‘We Are a Small Country that Has Done Enormously Lot’: The ‘Refugee Crisis’ & the Hybrid Discourse of Politicising Immigration in Sweden
Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 16(1–2), 97–117

Krzyżanowski, M. (2020)
Discursive Shifts and the Normalisation of Racism: Imaginaries of Immigration, Moral Panics and the Discourse of Contemporary Right-Wing Populism
Social Semiotics 30:4

Krzyżanowski, M. and P. Ledin (2017)
Uncivility on the Web: Populism in/and the Borderline Discourses of Exclusion
Journal of Language and Politics 16 (4), 566–581

Wodak, R. & M. Krzyżanowski (2017)
Right-Wing Populism in Europe & USA: Contesting Politics & Discourse beyond ‘Orbanism’ and ‘Trumpism’
Journal of Language & Politics 16(4): 471–484

9, Thursday

Session 1

Krzyżanowski, M. (2013)
Discourses and Concepts: Interfaces and Synergies between Begriffsgeschichte and the Discourse-Historical Approach in CDA, pp. 201–214
In: R. Wodak (Ed.) Critical Discourse Analysis (Vol. 4)
London: Sage

Krzyżanowski, M. (2013)
Policy, policy communication and discursive shifts: Analyzing EU policy discourses on climate change, pp. 101–135
In P. Cap & U. Okulska (Eds.), Analysing New Genres in Political Communication
Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins

Krzyżanowski, M. (2015)
International leadership re-/constructed? Ambivalence and heterogeneity of identity discourses in European Union’s policy on climate change
Journal of Language and Politics 14:1

Krzyżanowski, M. (2016)
Recontextualisations of Neoliberalism and the Increasingly Conceptual Nature of Discourse: Challenges for Critical Discourse Studies
Discourse & Society 27(3)

Krzyżanowski, M. (2019)
Brexit and the Imaginary of ‘Crisis’: A Discourse-Conceptual Analysis of European News Media
Critical Discourse Studies 16:4

Krzyżanowski, M. and R. Wodak (2011)
Political Strategies and Language Policies: The ‘Rise and Fall’ of the EU Lisbon Strategy and its Implications for the Union’s Multilingualism Policy
Language Policy 10(2), 115–136

10, Friday

Session 1

Krzyżanowski, M. (2010)
The Discursive Construction of European Identities, especially Chapter 3
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang

Krzyżanowski, M. (2011)
Political Communication, Institutional Cultures, and Linearities of Organisational Practice: A Discourse-Ethnographic Approach to Institutional Change in the European Union
Critical Discourse Studies 8(4), 281–296

Krzyżanowski, M. (2012)
(Mis)Communicating Europe? On Deficiencies and Challenges in Political and Institutional Communication in the European Union
In: B. Kryk-Kastovsky (ed.) Intercultural (Mis)Communication Past and Present, pp.185–213
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang

Krzyżanowski, M. (2018)
Ethnography and Critical Discourse Studies
In: J. Richardson & J. Flowerdew (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies, pp.179–194
London: Routledge

Krzyżanowski, M. (2018)
Social media in/and the politics of the European Union: Politico-organizational communication, institutional cultures and self-inflicted elitism
Journal of Language & Politics 17(2)


It is your responsibility to complete these readings, ideally prior to the course.

Software Requirements

No specialist software will be used except for PowerPoint, Acrobat Reader, etc.

Hardware Requirements

Please bring your own laptop.


Key Sources

Krzyżanowski, M. (2010)
The Discursive Construction of European Identities: A Multilevel Approach to Discourse and Identity in the Transforming European Union
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang

Wodak, R. and M. Krzyżanowski (eds.)(2008)
Qualitative Discourse Analysis in the Social Sciences
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Other Sources

Blommaert, J. (2005)
Discourse: A Critical Introduction 
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
in Discourse & Society 19, 783–828

Fairclough, N (1992)
Discourse and Social Change
Cambridge: Polity Press

Galasińska, A. and M. Krzyżanowski (Eds.)(2008)
Discourse and Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Johnstone, B. (2007)
Discourse Analysis
Oxford: Blackwell

Krzyżanowski, M and F. Oberhuber (2007)
(Un)Doing Europe: Discourses and Practices of Negotiating the EU Constitution
Brussels: PIE – Peter Lang

Reisigl, M. and R. Wodak (2001)
Discourse and Discrimination
London: Routledge

Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D., Hamilton, H. (eds.)(2001)
The Handbook of Discourse Analysis
Oxford: Blackwell

Triandafyllidou, A., R. Wodak and M. Krzyżanowski (Eds.)(2009)
European Public Sphere and the Media: Europe in Crisis
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

van Dijk, T.A. (1984)
Prejudice in Discourse
Amsterdam: John Benjamins

van Dijk, T.A. (1998)
Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach
London: Sage

Weiss, G. and Wodak, R. (eds.) (2007)
Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory and Interdisciplinarity in Critical Discourse Analysis
London: Palgrave

Wodak, R. and Chilton, P. (eds.)(2007)
A New Agenda in (Critical) Discourse Analysis
Amsterdam: Benjamins

Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (eds.)(2009)
Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis 2nd Revised Edition
London: Sage