‘Order of Discourse’ is a key concept for CDA. It is, according to Fairclough ‘a particular combination or configuration of genres, discourses and styles which constitutes the discourse aspect of a network of social practices’ (2001: 220) and is important because it is ‘the social resource which enables and constrains interaction’ (Chouliaraki and Fairclough, 1999: 63).
However, a search of Critical Discourse Studies for articles that use the concept turns up just 18 results (listed below). Why might this be?
A closer look shows that even for these articles the concept is one that is generally seen as a given rather than as something that has been taken as an object of study.
Could we take ‘order of discourse’ as an object of study and analysis? The kind of question I have in mind is ‘what is the order of discourse for practices of UK policy making?’ To ask this sort of question is to come at discourse from a direction which is different to that ordinarily taken in studies which undertake CDA. The usual practice is to analyse texts for the genres, discourses and styles which are worked together in that text and to extrapolate from text to order of discourse. If we find legal, political, literary language in a text then we say that those social practices are being worked together in the text. We might criticise the fact that an educational text includes language from a consumerist discourse and extrapolate that practices of education are being colonised by practices of marketisation. This kind of approach is good for identifying change, but it may also hold an assumption that the order of discourse and practice that is being colonised was OK to begin with. What if the problem with the practice in which we are interested is of a more long-standing nature than contemporary colonisation?