Theories On Discourse And Ideology English Language Essay

October 4, 2017 English Language

Language, that makes us the “ Crown of Creatures ” , empowers us with an expressive medium which we exploit to pass on, understand, construe, negate, acknowledge, appreciate, influence, persuade, dominate, control, etc. Metaphorically talking, linguistic communication helps us to fondle and soothe our feelings, excite and thrill our spirit, rattle our nervousnesss, kill our desire, and so on.A Language is a varicolored phenomenon. It can emotionally travel and impact us every bit strongly as physical actions. This is the power of language.A

1.1A What is Discourse?

A A A A A A The term discourse has been derived from Gallic wordA discoursA significance ‘talk. ‘ In linguistics, discourse is “ a sequence of vocalizations. ” Grammarians define discourse as “ big pieces of address and authorship: stretches of linguistic communication longer than a sentence. ”

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A A A A A A Language is used to ‘mean’A something and to ‘do’A something, and this ‘meaning and doing’A is determined by the context of its use. As discourse is dialogic in nature, the things which make it different from ordinary linguistic communication usage are context, creative activity, response and reading. It should non be confused with either of the Chomsky ‘s or Saussure ‘s classs. It is neitherA public presentation or paroleA which is concerned with linguistic communication in its existent vocalizations, norA competency or languewhere linguistic communication is a codification system and a system of communicative conventions. Although it contains both the elements, it goes beyond the differentiation ofA public presentation or paroleA andA competency or langue ; A it is the survey of ‘language usage. ‘ If linguistic communication is ‘speech act ‘ and societal behaviour, discourse is a signifier of ‘social pattern. ‘

Foucault defines discourse as

“ ways of representing cognition, together with the societal patterns, signifiers of subjectiveness and power dealingss which inhere in such cognitions and dealingss between them. Discourses are more than ways of thought and bring forthing significance. They constitute the nature of the organic structure, unconscious and witting head and emotional life of the topics they seek to regulate. ” ( Weedon, 1987 )

“ aˆ¦ a signifier of power that circulates in the societal field and can attach to schemes of domination every bit good as those of opposition. ” ( Diamond & A ; Quinby, 1988 )

A A A A A A In other words, discourse is a ‘string of vocalizations ‘ concerned with the production of significance. Discourse is a socially organized manner of speech production. Harmonizing to Foucault, discourse constructs the subject. It governs what can and can non be said about the subject.

A A A A A A Apart from regulating the subject, it is besides used to act upon people to alter thoughts into pattern ( be it personal or others thoughts ) , and to modulate the behavior of others. As discourse is concerned with the ‘production of significance, ‘ the vocalizations have a relation to ‘common sense premises. ‘ Cultural hegemony is maintained through ‘common sense premises ‘ which become ‘universal political orientations ‘ through linguistic communication or in other words ‘discourse. ‘

“ Language exerts concealed power, like a Moon on the tides. ” ( Rita Mae Brown, A Get downing from Scratch, 1998 ) A


1.2A What is Ideology?

A A A A A A Ideologies are those thoughts, values, attitudes, and ( general or cultural ) ways of thought that shape our ‘belief systems ‘ and ‘mind sets ‘ about what is /is n’t rectify, and how it must be. Political orientations, be they spiritual or political or societal, maintain power constructions and societal hierarchies and remain dominant and prevalent in the society through rhetorical discourse or concealed power in discourse.

A A A A A A The chief intent of political orientation is non merely to alter the bing constructions, but besides to keep already bing ‘set of ideals. ‘ Ideas, beliefs, and attitudes which ‘maintain position quo ‘ become dominant or prevailing political orientations of the society. These political orientations are so powerful that they ignore and sideline those thoughts which are against its very being through a normative idea procedure and political relations of the linguistic communication.

A A A Ideologies when become ‘shared experiences ‘ start devising sense. People start doing sense of their lives while detecting them. In other words, they are no more false beliefs and thoughts, instead a true and ‘lived experience. ‘


A A A A A A The societal theory has contributed in many ways to research the function of linguistic communication in exerting, keeping and altering power. First, the work in the theory of political orientation negotiations approximately ‘ideology as a mechanism of power ‘ without utilizing coercive agencies and linguistic communication ‘as a venue of political orientation ‘ which is important in exerting power. Second, Michel Foucault ‘s work ascribes “ cardinal function to talk about ” in the development of power constructions of signifiers. Third, Jurgen Habermas ‘ “ theory of communicative action ” – which challenges Marxist focal point on economic sciences or alienated labor- is considered as the exclusive finding factor of subjugation. He argues that cardinal to release is instead to be found in linguistic communication and communicating between people.

2.1A Marx and Ideology

A A A A A A Karl Max, a societal mind of 19thA century, talked of political orientation in footings of ‘an instrument of societal production. ‘ He gave ‘economic base and superstructure theoretical account of society, ‘ where base denotes the relation of production and superstructure denotes the dominant political orientation. Base shapes the superstructure of any society, while the superstructure maintains and legitimates the base.

A A A A A A Harmonizing to Marx, middle class create and reenforce peculiar ‘ways of believing ‘ , in other words, peculiar political orientation which in bend reinforce the construction of the society, therefore keeping position quo and bing hierarchies of position and power.A

Fig. 1: Marx ‘s Base & A ; Superstructure Model of Society

A A A A A A Harmonizing to Karl Marx, societal political orientations non merely causeA position quo or hegemonyA in the society, but besides a ‘conditioning ‘ where ‘false consciousness ‘ created by the opinion category is justified. This conditioning makes us believe that the manner our society operates is for the best, and lower category justifies its ain lower place in society.A

A Michel Foucault in “ The Order of Discourse ”

A A A A A A In “ The Order of Discourse, ” A Foucault argues that the discourse is controlled by certain maps, actions and regulations. In peculiar, certain subjects are prohibited and who speaks is limited. Reason is valued and lunacy is ignored. It is besides controlled by what we choose to notice on and by the will to truth.

“ [ T ] he highest truth no longer resided in what discourse was or did, but in what is said: a twenty-four hours came when truth was displaced by from the ritualized, efficacious, and merely act of diction, towards the vocalization itself, its significance, its signifier, its object, its relation to its mention. ” ( 1462 ) A

“ In every society, the production of discourse is at one time controlled, selected, organized and redistributed by a certain figure of processs whose function is to guard off its powers and dangers, to derive command over its opportunity events, to hedge its heavy, formidable materiality ” ( p.210 ) .A

A A A A A A Foucault besides talks about “ processs of exclusion ” and processs of inclusion. He states that prohibition of including or discoursing certain subjects “ really shortly uncover [ discourse ‘s ] nexus with desire and with power ” ( p.211 ) .

A A A A A A At another topographic point he says that “ discourse is non merely that which translates battles or systems of domination, but is the thing for which and by which there is battle ; discourse is the power which is to be seized ” ( p.211 ) .

A A A A A A In Weedon ‘s ( 1987 ) in reading of Foucault is:

“ A moral force of control between discourses and the topics, constituted by discourses, who are their agents. Power is exercised within discourses in the ways in which they constitute and govern single topics. ”

A A A A A A Foucault ‘s focal point is upon inquiries of how some discourses have shaped and created intending systems that have gained the position and currency of ‘truth ‘ , and rule how we define and organize both ourselves and our societal universe, whilst other alternate discourses are marginalised and subjugated, yet potentially ‘offer ‘ sites where hegemonic patterns can be contested, challenged and ‘resisted ‘ .

A A A A A A Foucault developed the construct of the ‘discursive field ‘ as portion of his effort to understand the relationship between linguistic communication, societal establishments, subjectiveness and power. Dianoetic Fieldss, such as the jurisprudence or the household, contain a figure of viing and contradictory discourses with changing grades of power to give significance to and form societal establishments and procedures. They besides ‘offer ‘ a scope of manners of subjectiveness ( Weedon, 1987 ) . It follows so that,

“ if dealingss of power are dispersed and fragmented throughout the societal field, so must resistance to power be ” ( Diamond & A ; Quinby, 1988 ) .

A A A A A A Foucault argues though, inA The Order of Discourse, that the ‘will to truth ‘ is the major system of exclusion that forges discourse and which ‘tends to exercise a kind of force per unit area and something like a power of restraint on other discourses ‘ , and goes on farther to inquire the inquiry ‘what is at interest in the will to truth, in the will to express this ‘true ‘ discourse, if non desire and power? ‘ ( 1970, cited in Shapiro 1984, p. 113-4 ) .

A A A A A A Thus, there are both discourses that constrain the production of cognition, dissent and difference and some that enable ‘new ‘ cognitions and difference ( s ) . The inquiries that arise within this model, are to make with how some discourses maintain their authorization, how some ‘voices ‘ get heard whilst others are silenced, who benefits and how – that is, inquiries turn toing issues of power/ empowerment/ disempowerment.A A

2.3A Louis Althusser ‘s position of Ideology

A A A A A A Louis Althusser builds on the work of Jacques Lacan to understand the manner political orientation maps in society. He therefore moves off from the earlier Marxist apprehension of political orientation. In the earlier theoretical account, political orientation was believed to make what was termed “ false consciousness, ” a false apprehension of the manner the universe functioned ( for illustration, the suppression of the fact that the merchandises we purchase on the unfastened market are, in fact, the consequence of the development of labourers ) .

Althusser revised Marx ‘s position of political orientation, which he described as:

“ … idea as an fanciful building whose position is precisely like the theoretical position of the dream among authors before Freud. ”

A A A A A He saw human persons being constituted asA subjectsA throughA political orientation. Consciousness and bureau are experienced, but are the merchandises of political orientation ‘speaking through ‘ the topic. Above all, political orientation is an fanciful building that represents the existent universe. However, it is so existent to us that we ne’er question it.

A A A A A A Althusser posits a series of hypotheses that he explores to clear up his apprehension of political orientation: A

“ Political orientation represents the fanciful relationship of persons to their existent conditions of being ” ( LeninA 109 ) .

A A A A A A The traditional manner of thought of political orientation led Marxists to demo how political orientations are false by indicating to the existent universe hidden by political orientation ( for illustration, the “ existent ” economic base for political orientation ) . Harmonizing to Althusser, by contrast, political orientation does non “ reflect ” the existent universe but “ represents ” the “ imaginaryA relationship of persons ” to the existent universe ; the thing political orientation ( myocardial infarction ) represents is itself already at one remove from the existent. In this, Althusser follows the Lacanian apprehension of theA fanciful order, which is itself at one measure removed from the LacanianA Real. In other words, we are ever within political orientation because of our trust on linguistic communication to set up our “ world ” ; different political orientations are but different representations of our societal andA imaginaryA ” world ” non a representation of theA RealA itself.A A

“ Ideology has a stuff being ” ( LeninA 112 ) .

A A A A A A Althusser contends that political orientation has a stuff being because “ an political orientation ever exists in an setup, and its pattern, or patterns ” ( LeninA 112 ) . Ideology ever manifests itself through actions, which are “ inserted into patterns ” ( LeninA 114 ) , for illustration, rites, conventional behaviour, and so on. It is our public presentation of our relation to others and to societal establishments that continually instantiates us as subjects.A Judith Butler ‘s apprehension of performativityA could be said to be strongly influenced by this manner of believing about ideology.A A

“ all political orientation hails or interpellates concrete persons as concrete topics ” ( LeninA 115 ) .

A A A A A A Harmonizing to Althusser, the chief intent of political orientation is in “ ‘constituting ‘ concrete persons as topics ” ( LeninA 116 ) . So permeant is political orientation in its fundamental law of topics that it forms our very world and therefore appears to us as “ true ” or “ obvious. ” Althusser gives the illustration of the “ hullo ” on a street: “ the rites of ideological acknowledgment [ … ] warrant for us that we are so concrete, single, distinguishable and ( of course ) unreplaceable topics ” ( LeninA 117 ) . Through “ interpellation, ” persons are turned into topics ( which are ever ideological ) .

A A A A A A Althusser ‘s illustration is the hail from a police officer: “ ‘Hey, you at that place! ‘ ” ( LeninA 118 ) : “ Assuming that the theoretical scene I have imagined takes topographic point in the street, the hailed person will turn unit of ammunition. By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical transition, he becomes aA topic ” ( LeninA 118 ) . The really fact that we do non acknowledge this interaction as ideological speaks to the power of political orientation:

what therefore seems to take topographic point outside political orientation ( to be precise, in the street ) , in world takes topographic point in political orientation [ … . ] That is why those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside political orientation: one of the effects of political orientation is the practicalA denegationA of the ideological character of political orientation by political orientation: political orientation ne’er says, “ I am ideological. ” ( LeninA 118 )

“ persons are always-already topics ” ( LeninA 119 ) .

A A A A A A Although he presents his illustration of interpellation in a temporal signifier ( I am interpellated and therefore I become a topic, I enter political orientation ) , Althusser makes it clear that the “ becoming-subject ” happens even before we are born. “ This proposition might look self-contradictory ” ( LeninA 119 ) , Althusser admits ; however, “ That an single is always-already a topic, even before he is born, is [ … ] the field world, accessible to everyone and non a paradox at all ” ( LeninA 119 ) . Even before the kid is born, “ it is certain in progress that it will bear its Father ‘s Name, and will hence hold an individuality and be unreplaceable. Before its birth, the kid is hence always-already a topic, appointed as a topic in and by the specific familial ideological constellation in which it is ‘expected ‘ one time it has been conceived ” ( Lenin119 ) . Althusser therefore one time once more invokes Lacan ‘s thoughts, in this instance Lacan ‘s apprehension of the “ Name-of-the-Father. ”

A A A A A A Most topics accept their ideological self-constitution as “ world ” or “ nature ” and therefore seldom run afoul of the inhibitory State setup, which is designed to penalize anyone who rejects the dominant ideology.A HegemonyA is therefore reliant less on such inhibitory State setups as the constabulary than it is on those Ideological State Apparatuses ( ISAs ) by which political orientation is inculcated in all topics. ( See the following faculty for an account of ISAs. ) As Althusser puts it, “ the individualA is interpellated as a ( free ) topic in order that he shall subject freely to the commandments of the Subject, i.e. in order that he shall ( freely ) accept his subjugation, i.e. in order that he shall do the gestures and actions of his subjugation ‘all by himself ‘ ” ( LeninA 123 ) .

Louis Althusser ‘s ISA

A A A A A Althusser proposed a mercenary construct of political orientation, which made usage of a particular type of discourse: the lacunar discourse. A figure of propositions, which are ne’er untrue, suggest a figure of other propositions, which are true. In this manner, the kernel of the lacunar discourse is what is non told ( but is suggested ) .

A A A A A For Althusser, beliefs and thoughts are the merchandises of societal patterns, non the contrary. What is finally of import for Althusser are non the subjective beliefs held in the ‘minds ‘ of human persons, but instead the stuff establishments, rites and discourses that produce these beliefs.A

A A A A A Althusser identified theA Ideological State ApparatusA ( ISA ) as the method by which organisations propagate ideology chiefly. Violence or menace of force is secondary.A ISA ‘s for Althusser were spiritual, educational, household, cultural establishments. This is in contrast to theA Repressive State ApparatusA ( RSA ) , by which conformity can be forced and includes the ground forces, constabulary, authorities, prisons. Force or menace of force is primary, while political orientation is secondary. For illustration, arrest imprisonment, bodily penalty, etc.A

2.4A Discourse as Social Practice

A A A A A A Social dealingss of power and domination are sustained through political orientation. To Fairclough, political orientations construct worlds which give significance to discursive patterns. Through power dealingss implicit in orders of discourse, discourse becomes invested ideologically. Hence the dianoetic patterns, loaded with political orientations non merely bring forth, but besides reproduce or transform societal individualities, societal dealingss and systems of cognition and belief.A A

2.4.1A Fairclough and Ideology:

A A A A A A There are two ways of exerting power: through coercion and through consent. Harmonizing to Fairclough, “ Ideology is the cardinal mechanism of regulation by consent, ” and discourse is a “ favorite vehicle of political orientation. ” It functions to set up, prolong or alter domination or power dealingss in the society. For Fairclough, political orientations are buildings of world which are built into assorted dimensions of the signifiers and significances of dianoetic patterns. Through power dealingss implicit in orders of discourse, discourse becomes invested ideologically. Through being ideologically invested, discourse is a manner of bring forthing, reproducing or transforming societal individualities, societal dealingss, and systems of cognition and belief.

A A A A A A Fairclough ( 1992 ) makes three claims about political orientation, based in portion on the Gallic Marxist philosopher, Althusser:

Ideology has a material footing in the societal patterns of establishments. As a signifier of societal pattern, discourse patterns are material signifiers of political orientation.

Ideology ‘interpellates topics ‘ . It works by representing people as topics within the model of political orientation. Patriarchal political orientation interpellates persons as more powerful work forces or less powerful adult females. Racist political orientation interpellates groups as ‘ourselves ‘ and ‘the Other ‘ ( see Hall 1997 ‘The Spectacle of the Other ‘ ) .

Political orientation operates through powerful ‘ideological province setups ‘ . Althusser contrasts what he footings the inhibitory bureaus of the constabulary, the military, prisons and the tribunals, with the ideological province setups of the mass media, instruction and popular civilization. In Fairclough ‘s theory, all of these give rise to institutional and social orders of discourse ( the societal order of discourse is a condensation of the institutional orders of discourse ) .


2.4.2A Fairclough and Discourse

A A A A A A Discourse involves two sorts of societal conditions: A societal conditions of production and societal conditions of interpretation.A These societal conditions are naturalized through the ideological operation of the patterns of dominant category. Fairclough describes implicit in conventions of discourse – which in fact determines discourse – in footings of what Foucault refers to as ‘orders of discourse. ‘ To Fairclough, these orders of discourse embody peculiar political orientations.

A A A A A A Fairclough refers to the three dimensions of discourse. They are dianoetic pattern ( discourse pattern ) , societal pattern ( socio-cultural pattern ) , and text.

Social practiceA includes discourse which non merely reflects world, but besides consequence societal constructions which play active function in societal alteration. Different capable places determine different discoursal rights and duties of persons.

Discourse practiceA refers to the production and response of messages. Participants indulged in discourse construct their societal individualities and dealingss by cognizing ‘how to move ‘ in certain state of affairss. For this participants pull on what Fairclough refers to as ‘members ‘ resources ‘ ( MR ) . This include internalized cognition of societal construction and societal patterns ; knowledge about production and reading of discourse types ; and detailed cognition of peculiar linguistics and textual structuring devices.

TextA is the record of a ‘communicative event ‘ . It can be written, spoken or ocular. While analysing text in footings of political orientations embedded in it, two things are really of import: foremost, representation of ideological facts and beliefs and building of participant individualities ( author and reader ) , and secondly, textual map which frames the message.


3.How Political orientations are Embedded in LanguageA

A A A A A A Language produces, maintains and alterations societal dealingss of power. It besides contributes to the domination of some people by others. Power is exercised through linguistic communication in conversations and other signifiers of text or talk. When people interact linguistically, the conventional talk embodies “ common sense ” premises where power constructions are treated as ‘legitimized. ‘ Harmonizing to Fairclough, these premises are political orientations which are closely linked to power and linguistic communication. Power dealingss determine the conventional ideological premises, which in bend legitimize bing societal dealingss and unequal power.

Language, a societal behaviour, relies on ‘common sense premises. ‘

“ The exercising of power in modern society is progressively achieved through political orientation, and more peculiarly through the ideological working of the linguistic communication. ” ( Fairclough, 1989 )

Further he says, “ Ideology is the premier agencies of fabricating consent. “ A

3.1A Memory Resources

A A A A A A Ideological premises are mere “ common sense ” A premises, and contribute to prolong bing power dealingss. To Fairclough, these common sense premises are “ memory resources ” ( MR ) . when transmitter encodes a message, the receiving system non merely decodes it, but besides construe it by comparing and contrasting ‘features of vocalizations ‘ with representations stored in long term memory. Fairclough refers to these paradigms as ‘member resources ‘ : grammatical signifiers, constructions, forms of words, sequence of events, systems of significance, sounds, etc. Interaction between interpreted vocalization and MR consequences in comprehension.

Harmonizing to Fairclough, understanding how linguistic communication, power, and political orientation are interrelated requires “ attending to the procedures of production and comprehension ” because MR/ representations/ paradigms are “ socially determined and ideologically shaped. ” They are so automatic, natural, legitimate and ‘common sense ‘ premises that they remain in camouflage.

The sociologist Harold Garfinkel, describes ‘the familiar common sense universe of mundane life ‘ as a universe which is built wholly upon premises and outlooks which control both the action of members of society and their reading of the action of others. Such premises and outlooks are inexplicit, back grounded, taken for granted, non things that people are consciously cognizant of and seldom expressed. Effectiveness of political orientation depends to a considerable grade on it being merged with this common sense background to talk about and other signifiers of societal action.A

3.2A Language Political orientations in Text

A A A A A A Language political orientations are non merely ways of explicating linguistic communication and linguistic communication usage for economic grounds, but are the linguistic communication ‘ideas ‘ of the dominant groups in society. They may every bit be inter-changed with ‘discourses about linguistic communication. ‘ Political orientations are non ‘untrue ‘ – so, like stereotypes, there may be a grade of truth in them.

A A A A A A Ideology is to analyze its effects on discourse signifiers and significances and how dianoetic constructions may in turn contribute to the formation and transmutation of political orientations. However, political orientations are besides at drama when linguistic communication users engage in the on-going building of context as subjective, every bit good as group sensitive, readings of societal state of affairss.

A A A A A A While speaking about political orientations embedded in text, we can state that this genre of discourse is a degree of linguistic communication usage which is super-ordinate to sentences and texts. Text is non something holding a beginning and an terminal. It involves exchange of significances. Text are created by talkers and authors who portion society ‘s beliefs refering ‘what is right ‘ and ‘what is incorrect ‘ or about ‘the manner things should be for the best ‘ in society. When they want to keep their belief systems or political orientations, they take the aid of linguistic communication. These political orientations remain inexplicit in the text as they seem natural or ‘common sense ‘ . The ideologically laden linguistic communication of the text grants it the ideological power. Such langue has ‘judgmental value ‘ and ‘meaning ‘ every bit good. Many ideologically laden words have their judgemental value because their significance is rational. They exist as ‘binary braces ‘ : ‘master/mistress ‘ , ‘housewife/working female parent ‘ , ‘middle class/working category ‘ , ‘freedom fighter/terrorist ‘ , ‘hero/coward ‘ , etc. Some linguists maintain that all linguistic communication – all intending – is an ‘ideological construct’.A

A A A A A A Following are few texts which are all related to societal jobs for one and societal beliefs for the other. In other words, they contain societal political orientations which are neutralized in the society.A



A A A Long-range societal alterations are driven by alterations in political orientation. But at a local degree, alteration in existent discourse patterns can be cumulative in consequence. Both discourse and political orientation are based on the relationship between power and cognition.

‘We tend to believe of cognition as authorising ourselves ‘ ( Sarup, 1993 ) .

A A A A A A Besides this, cognition is the ability to exert power over others. So, power is both positive ( productive in making individualities ) , and negative ( destroy individualities ) . In productive power, one is non reduced to one dimension as in political orientations and power is non held by one individual or group for good. Rather, it exists as a circuit, something which is ‘exercised ‘ by everyone in different state of affairss. As where there is power there is ever opposition, power can be challenged.

A A A A A A We might non state certain things in certain state of affairss, but by ‘breaking the regulations ‘ , we can re-define the bounds of discourse. Hence, redefining the bounds of discourse is somethingA productive about power.


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