Norman Fairclough (; born 1941) is an emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University. He is one of the founders of critical discourse analysis (CDA) as applied to sociolinguistics. CDA is concerned with how power is exercised through language. CDA studies discourse; in CDA this includes texts, talk, video and practices.
Fairclough's line of study, also called textually oriented discourse analysis or TODA, to distinguish it from philosophical enquires not involving the use of linguistic methodology, is specially concerned with the mutual effects of formally linguistic textual properties, sociolinguistic speech genres, and formally sociological practices. The main thrust of his analysis is that, if —according to Foucauldian theory— practices are discursively shaped and enacted, the intrinsic properties of discourse, which are linguistically analysable, are to constitute a key element of their interpretation. He is thus interested in how social practices are discursively shaped, as well as the subsequent discursive effects of social practices.
Language and Power (1989; now in a revised third edition 2014) explored theimbrications[clarification needed] between language and social institutional practices and of "wider" political and social structures. In the book Fairclough developed the concept of synthetic personalisation to account for the linguistic effects providing an appearance of direct concern and contact with the individual listener in mass-crafted discourse phenomena, such as advertising, marketing, and political or media discourse. This is seen as part of a larger-scale process of technologisation of discourse, which englobes[clarification needed] the increasingly subtle technical developments in the field of communication that aim to bring under scientifically regulated practice semiotic fields that were formerly considered suprasegmental, such as patterns of intonation, the graphic layout of text on the page or proxemic data.
Fairclough's theories have been influenced by Mikhail Bakhtin and Michael Halliday in linguistics and by ideology theorists such as Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu in sociology.