This article examines the ways in which narrative discourse contributes to the construction of Mapuche ethnic identities within a context of displacement and investigates how such identities are negotiated in interactional contexts of communication. The larger study comprised 12 focus groups and 36 in-depth semi-structured interviews with members of Mapuche families living in four comunas (neighborhoods) of Santiago, Chile. For this article, the analysis is based on 12 interviews and six focus groups directed by a native speaker Mapuche woman interviewer and complemented by participant observations of everyday life and ceremonial events in the comunas. From a social constructivist framework, we focus on narrative genres and topics based on their emergence in interaction. Our method is through De Fina and Georgakopoulou’s ‘Social Interactional’ approach, which recognizes the discursive sedimented processes that produce, for example, recognizable genres and themes typical of a group or community. We demonstrate that storytelling has a crucial role in the connections of Mapuche to their southern roots through narrative references to family centered on traditional practices recreated in an urban context.
This article examines the records of mental incompetence cases filed at a court of the first instance in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Using a Critical Discourse Analysis framework and qualitative methods, we explore the ways in which mental health sufferers are represented. Applying Tone Theory and Appraisal Theory (attitude/judgement subsystem) to our data, we distinguish two discursive zones. In one of them, subjects are constructed with linguistic resources that amount to inscribed expressions of negative social judgement on their capacity. A discursive dichotomy is created whereby people are either competent or incompetent. In the other zone, these negative dichotomous judgements are largely softened by explicitly positive ones, without disappearing altogether. We suggest that mental incompetence, far from being a dichotomous concept, might be gradual.
The Caribbean twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago entered a new era on 24 May 2010 by electing its first woman Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Breaking out of the country’s rigid bipolar political mold, the East Indian Persad-Bissessar won a landslide victory as the leader of the People’s Partnership, a new coalition party that comprised both East Indian and African political forces and movements. Adopting a Discourse-Historical Approach, this study sets to analyze how Persad-Bissessar discursively constructed her claim to leadership in the election speeches of the 2010 We Will Rise Campaign. Both the processes of bonding with her electorate and demontage of her opponent Patrick Manning are achieved by Persad-Bissessar with careful linguistic choices, encompassing the use of the ritual picong satire and strategic switching to Trinidadian English Creole. This article investigates complexities, struggles and contradictions of the Trinbagonian political scene by integrating a detailed analysis of political discourse and the investigation of the social and political environment within which discourse as social practice is embedded.
Research has shown that immigrants tend to be negatively constructed in the discourse of the media. In the context of the European Union (EU), British newspapers reportedly offer largely negative or partial constructions of these individuals. These representations contribute to jeopardizing the integration of this group of people, as their social construction reflects and influences the attitudes of EU citizens and the immigration policies. Our research examines the collocational profile of the lemma ‘migrant’ in the UK legislation and UK Administration informative texts from 2007 to 2011. While our results show that the UK Administration avoids an explicit negative construction of immigrants coming to the United Kingdom, we have found that they are partially constructed as a homogeneous, well-categorized group through an extremely limited set of lexical items that tend to prime their adscription to tiers. We argue that the representation of immigrants in the legislation points to the fact that UK laws and official information during the period 2007–2011 were more focused on legitimating the control over this group of individuals than on creating the conditions for better integration policies.
This article draws upon discourse analytic techniques and discursive psychology to examine how care workers build accounts of viewing the BBC Panorama programme ‘Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed’, which graphically documented the abuse of people with learning disabilities in a residential care setting. A total of 56 interviews were conducted as part of a project concerning adult safeguarding. The analysis considers how care workers report their reactions and the interactional strategies they use to construct themselves as shocked and disbelieving, and thus as oppositional to the extreme practices in the programme. Their role as care workers, and therefore as ‘insiders’ of the industry that allowed such abuse to happen, makes matters of stake and agency live issues for this particular group; and constructions of ‘shock’ and ‘disbelief’ are potential ways for participants to distance themselves from the abuse shown in the programme. More broadly, these data show how the invocation of mental states contributes to the management of other discursive business, namely, that of fending off any association with the aforementioned extreme practices.
Despite the immense communicative potential of visual methodologies, surprisingly few community-based research studies have meaningfully considered participants’ visual meaning-making processes. When working with youth participants from contexts with which researchers are unfamiliar, the use of visual methodologies and analyses is able to transcend much of the developmental and cultural barriers to communication that are inherent in many linguistically focused research methods. By employing a visual discourse analysis on six photographs captured by Ethiopian youth in a Multi-Country Photovoice Project on youth representations of safety, this study aims to showcase the value of analysing participants’ use of ‘alternative’ visual discourses. It was found that participants drew predominantly on two discourses, Humanising Capital and Unity, both of which resisted a number of Western hegemonic discourses surrounding youth constructions of safety. Participants’ visual constructions served as a meaningful mode of communication, as well as a relevant approach to facilitating youth ownership of meaning-making processes within community-based research.
Individuals with an immigrant or other ethnic minority background have begun to find their political home in the populist radical right and anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats. This study delves into this paradoxical matter by exploring how these politicians discursively account for their ethnic minority belonging in relation to their anti-immigration political affiliation. The critical discursive psychological analysis of blog entries by populist radical right politicians with an immigrant or other ethnic minority background shows that their ethnic identity negotiations were highly complex and multifaceted. Typically, an ethnic minority identity was accepted at a superficial, assigned level, whereas a Swedish identity was actively claimed at a level of personal assertion. This article analyses the discursive resources that the bloggers drew upon in order to construct and negotiate their ethnic identities and motivate their political choices. Finally, it elaborates on the discursive functions of the subject positions that these negotiations accomplished: dividing between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ immigrants, denying the existence of structural discrimination, reversing the racist label and attaching it to the political opponents of the Sweden Democrats and providing ‘proof’ of the party having rid itself of its racist past.
This article is part of a larger study of changes in British newspaper representations of wealth inequality in the United Kingdom from 1971 to the present day. Selected findings are reported from a corpus-linguistically based comparative critical discourse analysis of large samples (approximately 55,000 words each) of TV programme reviews that appeared in the Daily Mail, written by the TV critics Peter Black (in 1971) and Christopher Stevens (in 2013). Occurrences of class and its collocates and co-texts are a particular focus of attention. In Black’s reviews, it is a recurrent contemporary concern and recognised as indicative of inequality of opportunity. In Stevens’ much longer stories, class has largely disappeared from the discursive agenda of contemporary Britain and is only mentioned in relation to the past or other countries. By 2013, it seems to have become ‘natural’ not to discuss class and present-day wealth inequality in Mail TV reviews. The part-quantitative, part-qualitative methodology adopted here suggests that the tracing of something as masked as the discursive acceptance of wealth inequality must inevitably be more piecemeal and multi-factorial than other more sharply and overtly categorised forms of discrimination (based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, for example).
This article presents an analysis of politicians’ laughter in broadcast news interviews and of mass media representations of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s laughter during her failed bid for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2007–2008. It examines spoken, interactional data and written, representational data, each requiring different theoretical and methodological apparatus. The first component of the analysis employs the methodological framework of Conversation Analysis to examine the interactional work accomplished by Clinton’s laughter and other politicians in situ (i.e. in the interviews themselves). The second component employs an indexical approach to analyze the post-hoc recontextualization of Clinton’s laughter by mainstream media as a gendered representation, namely, as a ‘cackle’. Analyzing Clinton’s laughter in talk-in-interaction and its subsequent representation in talk-out-of-interaction reveals how communicative behavior that is not gendered by original participants may nevertheless become gendered by other participants. This article thus makes a distinctive contribution to a central question in discourse studies – when exogenous categories such as gender should be invoked as an explanatory category.
This article aims to explore the construction of the concept of the ‘crisis’ by Greek employees, when they talk about paid work. In order to do so, 22 interviews with employees aged 23–43 were analysed, deploying the analytic tool of ‘positioning’, informed by poststructuralist assumptions about discourse and the subject. This perspective seeks to illuminate how the hegemonic discourses both on the ‘crisis’ and waged labour persist and are being legitimated through peoples’ mundane practices and speech, aspiring to trace alternative narratives that challenge them. According to our analysis, the ‘crisis’ was discursively formulated in three different, and at a first glance even contradictory, ways: as a ‘state of exception’, as a ‘normal condition’ and as a ‘myth’, serving each time a different function regarding the constitution of the self and the social.
After the end of apartheid, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to uncover the truth and, most importantly, unite a deeply divided nation. This overarching goal of reconciliation not only framed the TRC’s work, but also shaped each hearing so that it followed a somewhat predictable script. In this article, bringing together Goffman’s framing and Bakhtin’s dialogicality, I analyze two selected hearings to show how the testifiers and the TRC commissioners go off-script and thereby reframe participants’ relationships in terms of power and solidarity, the hearing as a social situation, and understandings of the past and the truth. Suggesting that the TRC officials represent centripetal (official) voices and the testifiers represent centrifugal (marginal) voices, I show how going off-script works to not only reframe and laminate frames in a highly organized institutional encounter, but also is a way of intertwining the centripetal and centrifugal voices, thus creating dialogicality.
This article explores the literacy practices of a Mirpuri family and the ways family members challenge the bureaucratic discourses of migration as part of the literacy mediation they seek when applying for a visa. The central issue is to identify the institutional literacy practices in the visa application process by combining aspects of the Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) in Critical Discourse Studies (CDS) with New Literacy Studies (NLS). The article traces how visa texts are reused and recontextualised as they move between physical and social spaces in Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The aim is to identify how far the analysis of intertextual and interdiscursive relationships between discourses of migration can enhance the analysis of the literacy mediation that marginalised groups seek at a time of increasing curbs on family migration from non-European Economic Authority countries to the UK. Tracing recontextualisation in this way provides a combined framework for exploring the operations of power when analysing the extent to which bureaucratic discourses are challenged when text producers and consumers seek help filling in forms.
This article explores the mobilization power of online grassroots discourse often criticized by researchers as a threat to the Habermasian public sphere. The study takes a historical perspective and attempts to see elements of grassroots discourse as a recontextualization of Chinese revolutionary discourse. The high-profile Yao Jiaxin murder case is taken as the background, and an online open letter and its reply that have attracted wide attention to the event are selected as data for analysis. The theoretical approach utilizes Fairclough’s discourse analysis investigating discursive transformation in social and cultural change, and his synthesis of intertextuality analysis and Gramsci’s hegemony theory is found to be particularly helpful in the discussion. Two aspects of the text will be analyzed in detail – the emotional appeal and the strategy of inclusion/exclusion based on class division, as well as how such rhetoric is challenged and marginalized in new social contexts.
Enlightened by Van Dijk’s Context Model Theory and Wodak’s Discourse-Historical Approach, this article puts forward the Discourse-Historical-Contextual Approach as the analytical framework for the study of the recontextualization and transformation processes involved in media discourse. It is then applied to the analysis of the First-Instance Judgment of the Peng Yu Case. Through exploring the relevant context models, the article examines why a text is interpreted differently when it is circulated in different contexts. The study also reveals, by investigating the traces of previous texts in subsequent texts, how intertextuality is formed as well as how specific transformations are used in the processes. It is hoped that this study will provide some insights into the understanding of recontextualization and transformation processes in media discourse.
Attention to men’s attitudes towards sexual consent and violence has led to sexual consent guidance targeting men specifically. This article examines conflicting notions of consent and the construction of implied readership in a UK corpus of online sexual consent guidance for gay, bisexual and trans men. ‘Positive consent’ discourse presents consent as free, active and able to be withdrawn. ‘Talk, listen, think’ discourse recommends clear and explicit communication about boundaries. I argue that these discourses present gay, bisexual and trans men as effective moral agents, but these conflicting discourses also weaken the message of consent as free and affirmative. I show how synthetic personalization constructs solidarity between the implied reader and an imagined community of gay, bisexual and trans men who share the aim of ending sexual violence, but also constructs solidarity with men who are presented as unintentionally violent. I conclude by suggesting ways to improve consent guidance.
The increased exodus of more than one million Ecuadorians in the last decade means greater numbers of families and parents are separated from their loved ones and children. From oral life history interviews with sons, the authors address research on children who stay behind by focusing on the discourse of legitimation that sons of migrant Ecuadorian parents residing in Spain internalize and/or challenge. Utilizing critical discourse analysis (CDA) and more specifically Van Leeuwen’s legitimation strategies framework, the authors argue that while reproducing and rationalizing familial discourses of sacrifice and well-being, these young men’s narratives simultaneously express the language of loss and suffering.
In this article we present an analysis of the discursive connections between Islamophobia and anti-feminism on a large Internet forum. We argue that the incipient shift from traditional media toward user-driven social media brings with it new media dynamics, relocating the (re)production of societal discourses and power structures and thus bringing about new ways in which discursive power is exercised. This clearly motivates the need to critically engage this field. Our research is based on the analysis of a corpus consisting of over 50 million posts, collected from the forum using custom web crawlers. In order to approach this vast material of unstructured text, we suggest a novel methodological synergy combining critical discourse analysis (CDA) and topic modeling – a type of statistical model for the automated categorization of large quantities of texts developed in computer science. By rendering an overview or ‘content map’ of the corpus, topic modeling provides an enriching complement to CDA, aiding discovery and adding analytical rigor.
Recent trends in British education policy have led to an increased focus on promoting ethnic diversity in schools, as well as greater parental involvement in school choice. This combination has led some schools to actively market diversity as a selling point in order to attract more minority ethnic students, as well as attract White middle-class students seeking a more ‘diverse’ educational experience. This article analyses how students attending such a school in England engage with discourses of multiculturalism. I identify three themes that characterise talk about multiculturalism at school: (1) multiculturalism-as-beneficial commodity, (2) claims of ‘reverse racism’ in provision for minority groups, and (3) denial of racism and constructing the school as a tolerant environment where everybody gets along. Through an analysis of discourse strategies and positioning tactics, I demonstrate how students negotiate tensions between the existence of racism and the construction of an inclusive and anti-racist educational environment.
In this article, we examine the way that audiences respond to particular representations of poverty. Using clips from the Channel 4 television programme Benefits Street we conducted focus groups in four locations across the United Kingdom, working with people from different socioeconomic backgrounds who had different experiences with the benefits system. Benefits Street (2014) is an example of reality television where members of the public are followed by film crews as they perform everyday tasks and routines. Our choice to focus on this particular programme was prompted by the huge media response that it received when it was broadcast; Benefits Street generated 950 complaints to regulatory watchdog Ofcom and was referred to as ‘poverty porn’. We focus on the way that viewers of this programme produce assessments of those on benefits, analysing the discursive strategies used by our participants when evaluating representations of those on benefits. Specifically, we consider how the participants in our study construct their own stance and attribute stance to others through naming and agency practices, the negotiation of opinion and stake inoculation. We invited our participants to judge the people they saw on screen, but they went beyond this. They used clips of the programme as stimuli to collaboratively construct an overarchingly negative stereotype of those on benefits. We conclude that Benefits Street is not just an entertainment programme, but is rather a site for ideological construction and the perpetuation of existing stereotypes about benefit claimants. The programme (and others like it) invites negative evaluations of those on benefits and is thus a worthy site for critical linguistic analysis.
For many decades, the Argentinean travesti (transvestite) community has suffered appalling life conditions due to discrimination, social exclusion and (until the enacting of the Gender Identity Law) official denial of their identities. Using qualitative methodology and from the frame of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), this article studies how some Argentinean television programmes from 1993 to 2010 constructed discursive representations about travestis. The analysis reveals two opposing combinations of linguistic resources (strategies) regarding the State abuses suffered by the travestis, their need for social inclusion and their collective fight for their human rights: while the travestis who participate in the programmes reinforce these aspects, the television presenters systematically mitigate them. The discursive representations thus built by the programmes tend to maintain a ‘postmodern’ status quo, which could explain why the Argentinean Gender Identity Law was not accompanied, in 2012, by a public debate as resounding as the one that accompanied same-sex marriage in 2010.
This study examines how Latina/o students perceive and frame experiences of prejudice against them in the classroom through narratives told in informal interviews in Spanish. This project started as an inquiry about these students’ general perceptions and experiences in their Advanced Spanish-language classes and how these compared to their experiences in other classes on campus. Narratives are essential to understanding how speakers perceive and evaluate the experiences narrated and how they position themselves in relation to their group as well as to outsiders. The results show that, in most cases, when recounting narratives of discrimination or situations that can be considered instances of prejudice, students were hesitant to recognize that they were the subjects of discrimination or to qualify the story as an occurrence of racism. Different strategies were used to avoid this recognition, including assigning others the role of recognizing the situation as discriminatory and also using narrative evaluations or introductions to justify or mitigate the reasons that motivated these incidents. Discourses of prejudice and racism denial have been broadly documented, yet most studies focus on those who deny being racist themselves or being part of a racist group. This study shows how the underrepresented group might incorporate these discourses of denial and also how their discourses support or, at least, do not challenge the ideologies of majority groups about race, language, and immigration.
This is an empirical examination of contemporary US network television news stories about immigrants that is informed by myth and film genre scholarship. A review of a full year (2004) of network news programs determined that two age-old story-types constituted the base narrative of all the news reports regarding immigrant voyages and apprehensions. One ancient story-type, currently manifest as the American Western, occurs when the news story protagonist border patrol agent portrays the American cowboy archetype. A US foundational myth is based on this story-type. The second story-type derives from a journey myth of Inanna, a Sumerian goddess. These two millennia-old story-types accounted for all the network evening news stories immigrant reports. Western news stories rearticulate nationalism, while the Inanna news story contests the nation’s foundational myth. Thus, on this topic, journalists write about immigration to entertain and indoctrinate, as much as to edify.
Over the last few decades, the process of governing in the European Union (EU) has come to mean a whole series of activities conducted by social, political, and administrative actors, which guide, direct, control, and administrate society. The relationship between these actors in the governmental process is not hierarchical, but polycentric and mutually dependent. Therefore, the techno-corporatism alliance is formed by an epistemic community along with the industrial and financial lobbies. It organizes society around its own projection of a differential unit, thereby affirming its position of leadership and power – a differential unit which, in an ideologically broader definition, expresses itself and inevitably takes place throughout and within this language. First, this implies thinking of the techno-corporative discourse not in its apparent ethereal nature, but as a social practice of the legitimation of a mediated political direction that has intervened in the conception, construction, and approval of public policies over these last few decades. Even though this discourse contributes to the delineation of a certain social form, this does not suggest that it cannot contrast with it, or even exceed it because this form itself is contradictory. Second, the longitudinal analysis (2000–2010) of the techno-corporative discourse allows us to relate and articulate different discourses (critical, subordinated, and dissident discourses) which have affected the programs and projects of the European governance in the direction of society, thereby constructing a hegemonic vision in order to obtain general consent.
The Sunflower Student Movement was a protest movement in Taiwan against a trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by students and civic groups, in which the national legislature was occupied by protesters between 18 March and 10 April 2014. This study examines the discursive constructions of this movement in the two major English-language newspapers in Taiwan, The China Post and the Taipei Times, in corpora of articles published in the six-month period after the protests began. The data were collected from the online editions of the newspapers and analysed utilising a corpus-driven approach. First, frequency lists of the corpora were studied and an in-depth analysis of collocates and concordances of certain frequent words was undertaken. This was followed by a study of keywords when each corpus was compared against the other. The findings demonstrate that one newspaper depicted the protests as a struggle for democracy, associating the protests with democracy movements from the past and emphasising the inclusivity of the movement, while the other media source constructed the protests more negatively, focusing on destabilising elements of the protests such as the economic consequences of the occupation, highlighting instances of violence and disruption to the status quo, as well as constructing the protesters as being unrepresentative of the general population of the island. The article concludes by critically discussing how the differing discursive constructions of the protest movement are representative of the divisions within the Taiwanese society in relation to questions of nationhood and its stance towards the increasing economic and political influence of the PRC.
This study examines the constructions of masculine discourse by Chinese fans of European football through online discussions. A critical discourse analysis of 50 online discussions by Chinese Arsenal fans shows how these fans use ‘gaofushuai’ and ‘diaosi’ to reproduce, contest, and racialize the dominant masculine order originally embedded in these two masculine terms. It also discovers these fans’ enactment of fluid gender identities in their self-reference to the terms during interactions. Yet the patriarchal assumption still prevails in their discursive struggles, forming football and its fandom as completely gendered practices. This complex process is seen as the negotiation between the globalized European football culture and the local cultural meanings for Chinese masculinities. It offers implications for how the cyberspace of transnational sports fandom can form a site for discursive struggles over the hegemonic masculinity in contemporary China.
Socio-cultural approaches to fear of crime have suggested that responses to questionnaires may channel broader social attitudes towards other culturally-related topics which also shape the public meaning of ‘crime’, such as immigration. Building on this idea, this article uses a discourse analytic framework to examine how xeno-racist ideas, claims and positions are metonymically worked through everyday opinions about ‘urban insecurity’ as a crime-related construct. The analysis of open-ended interviews with ordinary citizens in Barcelona shows that the position of a ‘threatening Other’, typically afforded by the insecurity narrative, is pervasively constructed in xeno-racial terms, whether explicitly or by implication, but is rhetorically rejected on the narrative grounds of its alleged criminal acts. This xeno-racial version of the criminalized Other is itself managed in interaction as a sensitive topic through a set of deracialization strategies that displace rejection from the language of immigration towards culturally contiguous languages of incivilities, cultural differences and socioeconomic disadvantage. The article deepens the ideological versatility of discourses that subtly warrant the structural privilege of ‘natives’ vis-a-vis ‘immigrants’, thereby legitimizing a tenacious system of native supremacy.
November 2005 saw a significant flashpoint in the long-running history of tensions between minority groups and those in power in France: two teenagers, allegedly while hiding from the police, were electrocuted in a Parisian electrical sub-station, which was the catalyst for the unprecedented spread of violent riots across banlieues, or urban districts, in French cities lasting for a number of weeks. Mindful of the printed news media as important sites of ideology production, this study contributes to a growing body of work on newspaper representation of the banlieues, with a focus on the particularly traumatic events of November 2005. This article examines French newspaper representations of urban violence in 2005 using a critical discourse analytical approach, focusing on how the scenes of violent rioting prompted media discussions pertaining to French national identity. It argues that national identity and expressions of nationalism are defined in an exclusionary way, and that a discourse of sameness constructs symbolic boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’. The research suggests that in its reaction to the challenging events of November 2005, the printed news media adopts strategies which ‘other’ immigrant minorities and those living in the banlieues. Inhabitants of the banlieues are depicted as being outside the borders of the homogenously constructed French society in order to explain the violent scenes and ultimately uphold relations of discrimination and social dominance.
The theory of psychological essentialism provides an account of how and why some social groups are represented as if they possessed an inhering, immutable and group-defining ‘essence’. Whilst much of the empirical and theoretical work on essentialism has attended to characterising its cognitive components through the utilisation of survey measures, this article, adopting a synthetic discursive psychological approach, examines naturally-occurring conversations on talkback radio. We demonstrate how speakers attribute Sudanese refugees with essentialised cultural or tribal properties. These qualities were employed to account for the violent behaviour of Sudanese refugees, both in Sudan and in Australia, as relatively invariant and collectively shared attributes. Although participants recurrently depicted Sudanese refugees as sharing a cultural essence, these latent propensities were constructed to only manifest in the behaviour of some group members. We contend that essentialist ontologies can be established on implicit lay theories, causally linking culture to behaviour, and acting ideologically as rationalisations for illiberal and racist ends. We discuss how a discursive approach affords insights into the nuanced practice of psychological essentialism in everyday talk.
My research interests take strong cues from much theorizing performed within the social movement theoretical community. Building on framing insights pioneered by David Snow and Robert Benford, I focus on how much narrative fidelity a political activist’s speech has to culturally exalted primary source text(s); this is what I have termed foundational documents. I am proposing a foundational document theoretical model that interacts with novel concepts emerging among critical discourse analysts, and with insights produced within social movement studies under the cultural paradigm. This framework is intended to uncover resonating ideational elements within foundational texts. These are the crucial elements social movement entrepreneurs utilize in order to create culturally potent frame presentations.
The present study concentrates on immigrants’ positionings towards the discourse of the majority in Greece. While facing an influx of immigrants during the 1990s, the Greek majority adopted a particularly racist discourse. My purpose here is to explore how immigrant students attending Greek schools attempt to articulate their voice in relation to the assimilationist, racist discourse surrounding them. Focusing on the functions of the disclaimer I am adjusting myself, but ... used by immigrant students in a corpus of school essays, we will argue that it constitutes a particularly effective means of allowing them to raise a complex and polyphonic voice pursuing adjustment to the host country, without, however, losing face and pride. More particularly, the data analysis shows that in their school essays, and under the influence of their immigrant/ethnic communities and their negative experiences in the host country, immigrant students recontextualise the majority disclaimer I’m not a racist, but ... used by the majority population. The disclaimer seems to have undergone an entextualisation process that has led to the new disclaimer I am adjusting myself, but ..., which is intertextually linked with the former, but reversing its target. While the majority disclaimer is an expression of latent racism, the one discussed here involves mitigated threatening acts against majority assumptions as well as the enhancement of immigrant students’ face.
The present study explores the language of evaluation in a sub-genre of political discourse, pre-electoral debates, and its potential persuasive function for gaining voters via a contraposition of positive self-evaluation and negative evaluation of the other candidate. A further aim of this research is to check whether the candidate’s ideology has a bearing on the entities that get evaluated. After a brief examination of the characteristics of the sub-genre at hand, specifically in the Spanish context, we present the results of an evaluation analysis carried out in a corpus of 19,849 words, which is the extension of the most recent pre-electoral debate held in Spain between the candidates of the two main political parties. Taking into account Van Dijk’s critical discourse analysis (CDA) framework for parliamentary debates as global semantic strategies of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation, Martin and White’s method was adopted as an analytical tool. The results showed that, although each candidate had different preferences in the choice of evaluative devices, they both used them as a strategy to win electoral votes while deprecating the opposing party and, therefore, minimizing their opponents’ chances of winning the elections. On the other hand, and despite their opposing ideology, they both seem to defend those policies that are more widely accepted in order not to risk losing voters: public services and egalitarian social policies.
Since the seminal work of McIntosh, research on multiple forms of privilege (race, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, class, religion) has expanded, with a particular focus on how inducing recognition of privilege can build support for equality. However, evidence has been mixed on whether interventions increase support for policies designed to redress inequality. The present study looks at how respondents use arguments about privilege in naturalistic discussions, in this case, 357 online comments regarding a US Supreme Court ruling of racial discrimination. In particular, we can see how four cumulative strategies build to allow the presentation of racial privilege: connecting past to current inequality; constructing ongoing unequal treatment as contributing to current disadvantage; reclaiming ‘liberal’ arguments for ‘liberal’ ends; and defining group differences as consisting of both disadvantage and privilege. These strategies can be deployed to build a privilege discourse to contest inequality and racism. This provides potential strategies for privilege-based interventions to achieve their aims in increasing support for equality policies.
Social psychologists have attempted to capture the ideological quality of the nation through a consideration of its taken-for-granted quality, whereby it forms an unnoticed ‘banal’ background to everyday life and is passively absorbed by its members in contrast to its ‘hot’, politically created and contested nature. Accordingly, national identity is assumed to be both passively absorbed from the national backdrop and actively acquired through national inculcation. This raises the question of how national identity is expressed, transmitted and acquired in a foreign context, where the banal national backdrop is unavailable to scaffold identity and the national resources for identity transmission may be unavailable. The present article addresses this gap by examining the situation of Irish women raising children in England. Critical discursive analyses of the 16 interviews revealed that all women treated their children’s national identity and the issue of transmitting identity as dilemmatic: passive transmission risks children passively absorbing English, but active transmission contravenes the assumed naturalness of national identity and can furthermore conflict with children’s own personal choice. These results point to the complex interaction between the management of national identity and the broader personal and national context within which this occurs.
A penchant for luxury goods, insistence on a boyfriend who pays, and any opportunity to be the center of attention have all been described as characteristic of a ‘Kong Girl’ since the mid-2000s. In this article, we explore the social relevance of the popular stereotype by examining the role of stancetaking in online forum discussions. Focusing on a 2005 incident involving ‘Jenny’, who was later described as the ‘Kong Girl’ prototype, we show how forum participants try to come to terms with the sociohistorical changes in a late modern Hong Kong society by positioning Jenny and themselves within a shifting heterosexual marketplace. The heated controversy reflects changing gender ideologies that are exerting pressure on both men and women and provides the backdrop for the rise of the Kong Girl stereotype, which has its media prime in the years following 2005.
A quantitative, corpus-based approach is most illuminating for describing collocational and other recurrent patterns associated with specific lexical items across an entire corpus, while a qualitative, critical discourse analysis approach is best suited for scrutinising specific stretches of text at various levels. By incorporating both approaches, this study examines US news stories published in mainstream media with an attempt to identify specific discursive practices relating to North Korea. The analysis reveals that three US media outlets (CNN, Newsweek and The New York Times) divide the world into certain sets of countries, and that being pro- or anti-USA might have an impact on which country is associated with North Korea.
This study of a group of Irish women travellers in the South of England provides the opportunity for a discourse of situated self-identity within a mobilities paradigm. The stability-aspiring travellers’ community, to which the women in the study belong, invites a reflection on existing approaches to place-identity in that these women conceptualise their place in terms of its positive affordances and services that make their life liveable. The five women’s emerging discourses of both mobility and stability suggest that their emotional attachment to the place where they momentarily reside can be explained in terms of the beneficial results they gain from it. A scrutiny of the deictics used by the women, as well as a qualitative interactional analysis of the semi-structured interviews, suggests that for these travellers the sociolinguistic phenomenon of place-identity is layered and scalar so as to account for a loyalty to their distant provenience from Ireland, together with their present attachment to the encampment. As these women conceptualise place in terms of what it can provide for their families and community, their often idealised conceptualisation of locality resembles a Foucauldian ‘heterotopia of compensation’, in which the meticulous functioning of the site protects the community and defends it from outer contaminations.
This article introduces a new framework for the analysis of news discourse to scholars in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and beyond. It emphasises the importance of news values for linguistic analysis and encourages a constructivist approach to their analysis. The new methodological framework is situated within what the authors call a ‘discursive’ approach to news values. From this perspective, news values are seen as values that exist in and are constructed through discourse, and the primary research interest is in how texts construct newsworthiness through multimodal resources. This article first introduces resources that are used to construe news values in English-language news discourse, before illustrating the framework through two case studies of a 70,000-word corpus of British news discourse. The framework itself is intended for both multimodal discourse analysis and corpus linguistic analysis, although this article focuses more on the integration of corpus linguistic techniques. Thus, the discursive approach ties in well with two recent trends in CDA – towards multimodal and towards corpus-assisted discourse analysis. More specifically, the case studies show that corpus linguistic techniques can identify conventionalised discursive devices that are repeatedly used in news discourse to construct and perpetuate an ideology of newsworthiness. They further show that such techniques can provide a useful indication of the discursive construction of newsworthiness around a specific topic, event or news actor. The article concludes with an outline of further applications of the framework for (critical) linguistic analyses of news discourse.
In recent years, it has become an increasingly common marketing practice to connect the sale of consumer products to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, such as aid and development projects in so-called ‘developing’ countries. One example is Volvic’s pioneering ‘1L=10L for Africa’ campaign (2005–2010), which linked the sale of each liter of bottled water in ‘developed’ countries with the promise by Danone, Volvic’s owner, to provide 10 liters of drinking water in Africa. In this article, we engage with this ‘cause-related marketing’ campaign, using critical discourse analysis (CDA) to uncover its mechanisms and ideological functioning. We show how Volvic was able to transform an ordinary commodity, bottled water, into a consumer activist brand through which consumers could take part in solving global social problems, such as the access to safe drinking water in ‘developing’ countries. Our analysis of this exemplary case shows the ways that CSR often operates to deflect ethical critiques, consolidate brand loyalty and corporate profits, and defuse political struggles around consumption. By doing so, we suggest that CSR forms part of a complex strategy deployed to legitimize particular brands and commodities. In this way CSR can be seen as playing an important role in the ideological makeup of contemporary consumer capitalism.
Conflicting national media positions are often reflected in the discursive patterns used in news headlines. Perhaps nowhere has this been clearer than in the recent contrasting reports of the Battle for Tripoli during the Libyan civil war of 2011. Using data collected from online articles in the British national daily newspaper The Guardian and the Chinese national daily newspaper The People’s Daily, Halliday’s transitivity analysis is deployed to analyze these patterns in the light of critical discourse studies. The results demonstrate how differences in the national contexts between these two newspapers are affirmed in the discursive choices of their news headlines. These results also highlight the concepts of positive self and negative other construed in accordance with the national positions of these two newspapers in the global structure of political power.
Using discourse analytical methods, this article examines the interactional accomplishment of trust. Focusing on a case study drawn from a corpus of 28 surgical consultations collected in a gastro-intestinal clinic, it traces the trust-building process in a specific, communicatively challenging encounter where the patient is seeking a second opinion following an operation that she deems unsuccessful. Discourse analytical findings make visible the doctor’s strategic interactional work to build interpersonal trust with the patient and to regain her trust in the surgical profession. This work extends beyond interaction with the patient to include dictation of a letter to the referring doctor in the patient’s presence. Close analysis of the encounter reveals how this co-constructed consultation letter is deployed to strengthen the fragile patient–doctor trust engendered thus far. The article therefore provides insights into the discursive processes of trust building that could potentially be of considerable practical relevance to the medical profession.
This article provides an analysis of two texts written from a lesbian subject position at different points in recent history, to show how the authors construct (non-)normative in-group representations. The study is based on theoretical notions from discourse theory, queer theory and social cognition research, and uses a mostly data-driven analytical approach. The two texts, a manifesto and a journal article, are investigated to see how they use nomination and predication to construct in- and out-group representations, to what extent these identities are non-normative and why they are constructed in this particular way. Results show a stark demarcation of a positive, non-complex in-group from a negative, equally non-complex out-group in the earlier text, which contrasts with a more differentiated and less uniformly positive in-group representation in the later text. This is explained with the respective socio-political context, and the earlier text is interpreted as promoting a more explicitly normative in-group representation.
The struggle to change negative responses to asylum seekers is becoming more difficult due to global economic insecurity and increasing numbers of people seeking asylum. Effective and persuasive advocacy and activism to shift these opinions and create better outcomes for asylum seekers are critical. As for all social movements, how advocates engage the wider public, particularly those opposed to asylum seeking, is key to gaining support for this project. In this article, I use discourse analysis as a method for identifying both current activist discourses and rhetorical strategies, and how these shape the responses of the opposition. Using letters to the editor, online comments and media articles from a 2010–2011 Australian debate on the relocation of asylum seekers to a small South Australian town, I explore a particular strategy for change used in asylum seeker advocacy: eliciting shame. I identify two ways that shaming is ‘done’ – through expressions of contempt and disgust, and through a comparison of privilege and oppression. However, the analysis of the responses to this shaming demonstrates that, rather than provoking the hoped-for change, shaming actually elicits its opposite: flight or fight responses of denial, avoidance and escalating conflict.
Existing studies on media representation of elections in Nigeria do not pay adequate attention to a critical linguistic perspective on language used in reporting electoral matters. Given the fact that ideologies are crucial in elections, this study investigates the ways that cover stories in two Nigerian news magazines, TELL and The News, express the ideological pursuits of social actors in the 2003 and 2007 general elections in Nigeria. The discourse patterns that expressed ideological pursuits in the reports were generally non-neutral. The discourse of the stories indicated an attempt to shape the perspective of readers in elections; the magazines held the view that they are responsible for the social orientation of the electorates. Ideologies are expressed, acquired, confirmed, changed and perpetuated through discourse. They are generally reproduced in the social practices of their members. Both TELL and The News magazines put to use the ideological polarization between the ideological structures of ingroups and outgroups, such that ingroups typically emphasize their own good deeds while they de-emphasise their bad deeds; on the other hand, outgroups de-emphasise or even totally deny their own bad deeds while they emphasise their good ones.
The article appraises gender representation in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution using insights from critical discourse analysis, feminism and systemic functional linguistics, with particular emphasis on grammatical cohesion. Specifically, it examines lexical and grammatical expressions that encode gender in the Constitution, the ideological positions evident in these expressions, and their impact on gender parity and socio-political equity. The focus is on the reference-antecedent cohesion of gender-marked pronouns and nouns used to refer to individuals and social/political positions. Our findings show a preponderance of generic masculine noun and pronoun references, tracking antecedents that refer to social and political positions open to eligible individuals in Nigeria, while the single feminine referent was a marked case. These findings buttress the ‘male-as-norm’ ideology and the relegation to anonymity of the female gender in this important national document. For equity and fairness, the article recommends revising the Constitution with epicene expressions to expunge gender biases.
This study examines the interplay of politics, religion and discourse in the representation of the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, in government-controlled news websites in Iran. It is grounded in critical discourse analysis (CDA), and Van Leeuwen’s social actor network model (2008) is used as the theoretical framework to analyse the linguistic representation of the Iranian leader. In the samples analysed, Khamenei is discursively depicted by features associated with the Prophet Muhammad and the 12 infallible Imams of the Shia tradition. Such representations elevate the authority of Khamenei in texts, and naturalise the ideology of Velayat-e Faqih, which authorises a Faqih (Jurist) to assume political leadership in Iran. In this way, the texts are used to maintain and reinforce the dominance of people in positions of power.
This article aims to show how critical discourse studies (CDS) can contribute to the analysis of values in political discourse. It is argued that although valuation is fundamental to CDS, the concept of value is often taken for granted by critical discourse practitioners. The article discusses the main assumptions relating to value and evaluation in CDS and introduces a number of pragmalinguistic tools for the exploration of values in political discourse: metaphor, assertion-based patterns and thesis–antithesis in the service of axiological proximisation. The analysis of the concept of freedom based on President Bush’s State of the Union addresses (2001–2008) demonstrates how the Bush administration exploited this fundamental value of the American nation.
This article provides an ethnographically-based, in-depth discourse analysis of linguistic constructions of non-heteronormativity at Eurovision Song Contest press conferences. Contexts of high national salience have been found to largely support or even promote heteronormative discourses. The present study, by contrast, sets out to look at the construction of sexuality in a transnational community of practice of high European salience, in which macro-level heteronormativity has to face greater competition from the non-heteronormativity of the local context. The analysis identifies the following patterns of non-heteronormative construction: non-heteronormative talk about love song lyrics and performances, the construction of male same-sex desire, and the challenging of dominant gender discourses. Finally, it is argued that the European transnationalism of the context causes a normative shift from (nationally associated) heteronormativity to an expectation that non-heterosexual identities and desires be met with greater tolerance.
Salsa dance and music has become popular worldwide and Salsa communities outside of Latin America offer a fertile environment for studying gender and heteronormativity in cultural contact zones. Often, the desire to reconstruct ‘traditional’ heteronormative gender roles in these contexts is striking. Interestingly, informants of the qualitative, ethnographic study presented here display high degrees of reflexive consciousness regarding the constructed nature of their gendered performance. This article also discusses and analyses non-heteronormative performances that do not adhere to ‘traditional’ gender roles, which may be understood as queer performances. These are found frequently; however, an analysis of discursive data that relates to these performances makes their subversive potential debatable.
This study investigates meetmarket, a South African online community for men who are looking for other men. Utilising a quantitative approach to queer linguistics, the article presents a textual analysis of a large corpus of personal profiles in order to map meetmarket’s ‘libidinal economy’. More specifically, the article seeks to tease out the ways in which the members of this community valorise, and thereby make more desirable, certain identities at the expense of others. This then makes it possible to understand the extent to which these men (re)produce or, conversely, contest and overturn dominant forms of social categorisation in their expressions of same-sex desire.
In this article, I examine the role of talk in constructing speakers as heterosexual beings. Heterosexuality is a cultural construction relying on strictly enforced norms for its continuing dominance. Queer linguistics initially focused on the language of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups, but is now widening its focus to explore the discursive construction of heterosexuality, and to show that language does not just reflect the heteronormative order; it is also involved in reproducing that order. I shall explore how heterosexuality is ‘done’ in everyday talk, drawing on Cameron and Kulick’s idea of ‘the heteronormative hierarchy’. I shall also show how closely sexuality and gender are linked, and will argue that this closeness is essential to the maintenance of heteronormativity.