This engaging introduction offers a critical approach to discourse, written by an expert uniquely placed to cover the subject for a variety of disciplines. Organised along thematic lines, the book begins with an outline of the basic principles, moving on to examine the methods and theory of CDA (critical discourse analysis). It covers topics such as text and context, language and inequality, choice and determination, history and process, ideology and identity. Blommaert focuses on how language can offer a crucial understanding of wider aspects of power relations, arguing that critical discourse analysis should specifically be an analysis of the 'effects' of power, what power does to people, groups and societies, and how this impact comes about. Clearly argued, this concise introduction will be welcomed by students and researchers in a variety of disciplines involved in the study of discourse, including linguistics, linguistic anthropology and the sociology of language.