Teun Adrianus van Dijk is a scholar in the fields of text linguistics, discourse analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). With Walter Kintsch he contributed to the development of the psychology of text processing. Since the 1980s his work in CDA focused especially on the study of the discursive reproduction of racism by what he calls the ‘symbolic elites’ (politicians, journalists, scholars, writers), the study of news in the press, and on the theories of ideology, context and knowledge.
In the book Elite Discourse and Racism Teun van Dijk takes a critical approach to the study of prejudice and discrimination by focusing on the role of elites in the reproduction of racism. Van Dijk’s main thesis is that racism in North America and Europe is primarily `top down’ and preformulated by the elites, and is not only – as the elites would have it – a `popular’ phenomenon.