Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis

Brock, André
New Media & Society

Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis (CTDA) is a multimodal analytic technique for the investigation of Internet and digital phenomena, artifacts, and culture. It integrates an analysis of the technological artifact and user discourse, framed by cultural theory, to unpack semiotic and material connections between form, function, belief, and meaning of information and communication technologies (ICTs). CTDA requires the incorporation of critical theory—critical race, feminism, queer theory, and so on—to incorporate the epistemological standpoint of underserved ICT users so as to avoid deficit-based models of underrepresented populations’ technology use. This article describes in detail the formulation and execution of the technique, using the author’s research on Black Twitter as an exemplar. Utilizing CTDA, the author found that Black discursive identity interpellated Twitter’s mechanics to produce explicit cultural technocultural digital practices—defined by one investor as “the use case for Twitter.” Researchers interested in using this technique will find it an intervention into normative and analytic technology analyses, as CTDA formulates technology as cultural representations and social structures in order to simultaneously interrogate culture and technology as intertwined concepts.