Political Text and Talk

The relationship between language and politics may be part of this study as well. I begin with Chilton and Schaffner’s chapter “Themes and Principles in the Analysis of Political Discourse” from Politics as Text and Talk.

Classical rhetoric was inherently distrustful of the power of language? Aware, yes. Distrustful? Hmm. I need to re-read quite a few works obviously. I would argue against that statement at this point in time and, as a rhetorician, I have the status/power/knowledge to enter that debate.

Aristotle argues that the difference between humanity and other animals is our ability to make a binary differentiation between good and evil, just and unjust, right and wrong. (Based on present experience, I would say that we have lost/are losing our humanity/superiority if this is, indeed, the litmus test.)

“[S]hared perception of values …defines political associations” (Chilton and Schaffner 2).

Aristotle places the state above the household. This is, then, a Western ideal and perhaps something worth considering and chucking.

“other behaviors are involved: for instance physical coercion. But the doing of politics is predominantly constituted in language” (Chilton and Schaffner 3).

the descriptive study has not been isolated from the normative study (3)… and thus is the essence of the problem for every theory.

“the constant stream of linguistic discourse is… empirical evidence” (4)

“the macro-level institutions are types of discourse” (5)

“uncertainty principle in discourse analysis which acknowledges that the analyzed object is a product of the participating subject and that analysis” (6)

Whorf’s idea that the language and the description are mutually interdependent might have something to say about postcolonialist ideals.

What is meant must be interpreted… always. So when postcolonial theorists do this, are they interpreting from an Occidental-injurious binary that seems to underlie (and potentially undermine) their theory?

speech as performative action is particularly relevant to postcolonial theory.

(Interesting duality of action v words discussed p. 10)

Felicity conditions (as discussed on page 11) might be interesting interpretive lense for post colonial theory.

Odd to see Grice’s maxims applied to political discourse (13). Not wrong, just odd.

“‘reciprocal altruism’ is adduced to explain cooperative behavior on the basis of self-interested expectation of returned favours by all individuals” (14).

Habermas says “knowledge is not a neutral representation of an objective world … but is realized through discourse determined by interests” (14).

“truth for humans comes about only through interactive sharing” (15) –er no. Not true, even if Habermas said so. (And I do get the social construction of knowledge implication here.)

Wodak (1996, p. 32) argues “discourse analysis is an instrument for exposing inequality and domination and for providing the means for more equitable and emancipatory discourse” (16)

the relationship between text and context is reflexive. (Yes. And this would become even more true if applying a theory to the text/context relationship.)

“The direction of recontextualization may not be the same as the direction of colonization” (17).

discussion of genres (including Swales) 19-22

“genres are a function of the meta-discursive activities of social actors” (20)

“frames are structures related to the conceptualization of situation types and their expression in discourse” (26)

“metaphorical mapping structures the lexicon of English and other languages” (28)

“Metaphor can provide a conceptual structure for a systemized ideology…” (29)

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