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Unit 10. Critical Literacy in the 21st century, Part 2: How to see through the political rhetoric. University of Aruba, Faculty of Arts & Science Critical Literacy and Interaction October 4, 2010. Today’s topic. Repeat some highlights of unit 6: ideologies Political discourse
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How to see through the political rhetoric
University of Aruba, Faculty of Arts & Science
Critical Literacy and Interaction
October 4, 2010
Why do people develop ideologies?
Cognitively: ideologies may be developed because they organize social representations
Social basis: people are better able to form groups based on identification along various dimensions, including sharing an ideology
Since ideologies control social practices in general and discourse in particular, a social function would be: ideologies enable or facilitate joint action, interaction and cooperation of in-group, as well as interactions with out-group members (social micro level functions of ideology)
At macro level, ideologies are described in terms of group relations, in terms of power, dominance (control) but also cooperation
The power of group A over another group B. Usually this means control of action: A is able to control (limit, prohibit, stimulate ) the actions of B.
Since discourse is also a form of action, such control may be also exercised over discourse and its properties: context, topic and style.
Since discourse may influence the mind of recipients, groups may indirectly (e.g. through mass media) also control the mind of people persuasion and manipulation
Powerful discourse may influence the way we define an event or situation in our mental models or how we represent society in our knowledge, attitudes and ideologies.
Control of discourse (sender)taking a critical stand
To have power, you have to legitimize it.
“ It has always been preferable for the governed to be ruled by the spoken word rather than by the whip, the chain or the gun” (Chaterteris-Black, 2005)
Leadership is a social act requiring individuals who are gifted in the arts of communication and self-representation as well as other who are ready to follow the visions offered by leaders
The more democratic societies become, the greater the need of the leader to convince potential followers that they and their policy can be trusted
Purpose: To legitimize power, (to de-legitimize power of the other) to mobilize
Language, discourse, the most important tool for this.
Language of leadership
Emphasize positive things about US
Emphasize negative things about THEM
De-emphasize negative things about US
De-emphasize positive things about THEM
These 4 possibilities form a conceptual square ideological square.
It may be applied to all levels of discourse analysis: content, semantic and lexical level (meaning of words and sentences), to opposing pairs ((de)-emphasize): length, brief, explicitly, implicitly, metaphors, big or small headlines,
Meaning: Temptation, A test
Theological sense: God tests your ability to withdraw from temptation. Testing the power of believers of Islam
The myth of the Conspiratorial Enemy is a myth in which a hostile out-group is plotting to commit some harmful act against an in-group.
The Valiant Leader myth is one in which the political leader is benevolent and is effective in saving people from danger by displaying qualities of courage, aggression and the ability to overcome difficulties
The united We Stand myth is a belief that a group can achieve victory over its enemies by obeying and making sacrifices for its leaders