The Chinese Discourse book series has been published by Global Century Press from 2016. It covers discourse studies around Chinese history, culture, current affairs, language and people. Moreover, it advocates an interdisciplinary, multi-perspective, multi-method knowledge merged with Chinese culture and possessing a global outlook, which bridges the gap between China and the rest of the world and opens a window for the outside world to understand China.
In the second half of the 20th century, an important achievement of Western philosophy and social sciences was to appreciate the key role of ‘discourse’ in the process of understanding people’s daily life and constructing social reality, and to put the study and analysis of discourse at the core of research on philosophy and social sciences. Discourse analysis was introduced into China in the 1980s, and has been continuously developing there ever since.
During the past thirty years, and particularly in the last decade, a number of Chinese scholars have attempted to employ the framework of discourse analysis to describe and analyse both the production and communication of various ‘discourses’ in contemporary Chinese society, and how ‘discourse’ functions in constructing social reality. As a result, numerous studies have been published in the fields of linguistics, communications, philosophy, sociology, politics, economics, law, psychology, education, international relations and literary criticism, many of which are pioneering and innovative. Although there is still a gap between the achievements of Chinese scholars and those of their Western counterparts in quantity and quality, these studies play an irreplaceable role in understanding contemporary China from the perspective of discourse construction.
Corpus-based approaches to critical discourse analysis started in the 1990s. Its proponents combined corpus approaches with CDA, effectively eliminating the separation between quantitative and qualitative studies and providing a stronger basis for quantitative analysis within discourse studies. Since then, scholars have been exploring more ways of complementing corpus and critical discourse analysis. Paul Baker’s book Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis (2006) provides an overview of many corpus-based techniques in discourse analysis, which marks an important step towards maturity for this approach.
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