Discourse Analysis: Macrostructure, Superstructure and Microstructure in Critical Discourse Analysis

According to Teun Van Dijk. There are three elements of critical discourse analysis as follows: macrostructure, superstructure and microstructure. 

Macrostructure focused on the global meaning that more emphasize on the meaning of discourse theme or topic. It is described by Dijk (2003 in Rosidi paper, 2007: 11) as follows:

“The meaning of discourse is not limited to the meaning of its words and sentences. Discourse also has more 'global' meanings, such as 'topics' or 'themes'. Such topics represent the gist or most important information of a discourse, and tell us what a discourse 'is about', globally speaking. We may render such topics in terms of (complete) propositions such as 'Neighbors attacked Moroccans'. Such propositions typically appear in newspaper headlines.”

In analyzing the social, economic, politic and cultural structure deeply, the analysis of this research presents an explanation on how the power established the discourse to develop and spread publicly, including the media institution itself.

The superstructure specifically tends to be the discourse framework or being organized by conventional schemata. It explains more on how parts of the text arranged into the whole news, for example, the arrangement of the introduction, substance, and conclusion. Which part is placed at the beginning, or which part are placed later, it will be arranged as discourse-framer importance.

“Overall meanings, i.e. topics or macrostructures, may be organized by conventional schemata (superstructures), such as those that define as an argument, a conversation or a news report. As is the case for all formal structures, schematic structures are not directly controlled by ideological variation. A reactionary and a progressive story are both stories and should both feature specific narrative categories to be a story in the first place” Dijk (2003 in Rosidi paper, 2007)

Microstructure points on local meaning of the discourse, by observing the  semantics, syntactic, stylistic and rhetoric aspects. The use of words, proposition, and certain rhetoric in media is understood by Van Dijk as the part of the writer’s strategy. The use of certain words, sentences, and stylistic is not only viewed as the way of communication but also as a method of communication politic to influence common premise, create the backing, strengthen legitimate, and evacuate the adversary or the opponent.

Microstructure is an effective way to observe the next rhetorical and persuasive process when someone conveys the order. Certain words perhaps are chosen to clarify the choice and posture, form political consciousness, etc. The, microstructure is divided into four aspects, that are, semantic aspects, syntactical aspects, stylistic aspects, and rhetoric aspects. Yet, this study does not use syntactical aspects because it does not give any contribution to this research.

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