This study explores one part of the diverse and growing field of Critical Discourse Analysis. It focuses on the extensive theory of one of the most important figures in the field, Norman Fairclough, and on various criticisms that have been levelled against him. By consolidating these contrasting points of view it is demonstrated how problematic issues can be resolved and a new relevance found for today''s world. The particular issues covered include linguistic description, discourse and context, critical social theory, ideology and emancipation. Supported by interesting textual material and its analysis, it is shown that the emancipatory potential of CDA can be more fully realized by accounting for the interplay of these elements. Such an approach can help solidify the usefulness of CDA in present day social sciences.