Language and Power

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 07-02-19 14:51

Power and Critical Discourse Analysis

- power is defined as the ability to get your own way - using language to influence or control human behaviour. 

- Genldner described that power is 'the ability to enforce one's moral claims.'

- Norman Fairclough came up with the idea of CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS - the belief that language should be viewed as a form of social practice. Has links to how societal power relations are established and reinforced through language use. Coexistance between language and society.

- he also posited that all interactions have the potential to be 'unequal encounters' - with inequality in some situations being accepted because of the wider context surrounding them. 

- he also made reference to the persuasive nature of some texts because the individual ideologies which they express within them relate to the reader in some way (i.e. when a text makes natural assumptions about what a reader values as 'correct' or 'proper'). 

- the ideological nature of language therefore helps create power dynamics in language. 

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The Four Types of Power

- Wareing proposed four types of power which may be granted through language use:

1 - Instrumental Power - the authority imposed by those in a postition of power (law/education).

2 - Influential Power - persuasive language often used to persuade others to do something (advertising/media).

3 - Political Power - used in politics and is often concerned with spreading certain ideologies. 

4 - Personal/Social Groupthe power someone has due to social factors/their social group. 

- the same theorists/linguistic concepts can be used in a language and power question as for a language and situation question (Grice, Goffman etc.).

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