CADAAD2022 | 06-08/07/2022 | Bergamo, Italy
111 | Daniel TammNew framings of Estonian national conservatism on Facebook
In recent years, far-right discourse has made its way into the political mainstream across Europe (Krzyżanowski, 2020; Wodak, 2020), including Estonia. The nationalist Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) has become one of the most popular parties in the country, in part because of their strong online presence (Kasekamp et al., 2019). But it is not just the official accounts or party members who do the posting. The proliferation of national conservative ideology also takes place on meme pages, which have proven to be profitable battlegrounds for a wide variety of far-right movements (Askanius, 2021; Bogaerts & Fielitz, 2019). Nonetheless, no corresponding studies have been conducted in Estonia.
This presentation seeks to delineate how EKRE and the ideas that they stand for are represented on social media and is driven by two research questions: 1) What are the main themes and topics present in the online discourse of national conservatism in Estonia? 2) How does it contribute to the vernacular (re)framing of national conservatism as an ideology?
Source material for the analysis comes from five meme pages on Facebook, selected on the basis of three criteria: an audience of at least 500 followers, frequent propagation of EKRE and/or national conservatism without any official affiliation with the party, and being open for public access. The dataset is made up of all the posts by the five pages (392 in total), which were collected following the latest ethical guidelines for internet research (Franzke et al., 2020).
As for the analysis itself, MAXQDA software was first used to categorise the main themes and topics in the data. After picking out examples of the general trends, conceptual integration theory (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002) was applied to outline how the selected posts related national conservatism to different social issues and historical events. Following Coulson (2006), the presentation contends that such cognitive blends also hold argumentative potential, as they create new understandings of what national conservatism (and hence, EKRE) stands for.
In brief, the analysis suggests that although the meme pages often endorse EKRE and ridicule their opponents, they depart from party lines in numerous aspects. For one thing, their conceptualisation of national conservatism generally frames it in relation to indigenous paganism and Finno-Ugric mythology, which stands in sharp contrast with the Christian values of EKRE. Additionally, they frequently mock the formal appearance of EKRE politicians, e.g. depicting them as anime characters.
Askanius, T. (2021). On frogs, monkeys, and execution memes: Exploring the humor-hate Nexus at the intersection of neo-nazi and Alt-Right movements in Sweden. Television & New Media, 22(2), 147–165.
Bogaerts, L., & Fielitz, M. (2019). Do you want meme war? Understanding the visual memes of the German Far Right. Post-Digital Cultures of the Far Right. Online Actions and Offline Consequences in Europe and the US, 137–153.
Coulson, S. (2006). Conceptual blending in thought, rhetoric, and ideology. In G. Kristiansen (Ed.), Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 187–210). De Gruyter Mouton.
Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2002). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending And The Mind’s Hidden Complexities. Basic Books.
Franzke, A. S., Bechmann, A., Zimmer, M., & Ess, C. (2020). Internet research: Ethical guidelines 3.0. Association of Internet Researchers.
Kasekamp, A., Madisson, M.-L., & Wierenga, L. (2019). Discursive opportunities for the Estonian populist radical right in a digital society. Problems of Post-Communism, 66(1), 47–58.
Krzyżanowski, M. (2020). Discursive shifts and the normalisation of racism: Imaginaries of immigration, moral panics and the discourse of contemporary right-wing populism. Social Semiotics, 30(4), 503–527.
Wodak, R. (2020). The politics of fear: The shameless normalization of far-right discourse. Sage.
124 | Kelsey CampolongPolyphonic construction of truth in Trumpian discourse
This paper considers the impact of polyphony (Bakhtin 1981) on the construction of truth in Trumpian political discourse. It asks, specifically, what voices, in addition to Trump himself, are included in his monologic speech before large crowds, and how are these voices called upon to help define what is true and what is not?
I use a linguistically-based methodology for critical discourse analysis, as developed in Campolong (forthcoming), applying a three-step recursive analytical process: identify, isolate, contextualize. Taking as foundational CDA’s well-recognized relationship between micro-level linguistic features and macro-level ideological concerns, this methodology takes a structured, data-centered approach, distinguishing itself from other CDA approaches by placing micro-linguistic features at the center of the analysis.
Focussing on Donald Trump’s campaign-style rallies as President of the United States (2017-2021), I identify two primary sites of voice-construction in Trump’s speech. First, Trump’s extensive use of both direct and indirect reported speech introduces not only a multiplicity of enregistered (Agha 2005) voices into the discourse, but also allows for Trump to linguistically encode both epistemic and affective stances towards those voices. Through the use of “mocking” and/or othering language in reported speech, including but not limited to intonation patterns, gestures, and lexical choices, Trump calls upon imagined voices to define who can and cannot be considered an “arbiter” of truth. Second, I examine the relationship between polyphony and deixis. Trump’s seemingly erratic deictic positioning portrays an ever-shifting, yet internally consistent, cacophony of voices encompassing traditional first- and second-person pronouns with varying referents, but also the enigmatic use of nosism (e.g. the “royal we”) and an imagined “they” (for both friend and foe). Generally, the use of deictic pronouns like “us” and “them” delineate oppositional political entities (cf. Wodak 2011). While the data suggests that Trump certainly follows this trend at times, the enregisterment of shifting and often unclear voices aids in the construction of an intradiscursive “truth” and contributes to the polyphonic nature of the discourse. Indeed, I argue that the dynamic polyphony constructed at Trump’s rallies directly influences what is ultimately defined as true or false within Trumpian discourse.
These findings contribute to a body of research in which Trump’s use of “alternative facts” has been liked to a kind of political storytelling (Seargeant 2020), or indeed, a linguistic emergency (McIntosh & Mendoza-Denton 2020). His tenuous relationship with the truth has spawned many public conversations around the notion of “post-truth” (d’Ancona 2017); though clearly related, this paper presents a new angle on so-called “post-truth” discourses, in which political discourse—and the linguistic features that comprise it—necessarily involve truth negotiations.
Agha, A. (2005). “Voice, Footing, Enregisterment.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 15:1.
Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Trans. C. Emerson and M. Holquist. University of Texas Press.
Campolong, K. (forthcoming). Donald Trump’s construction of truth: A linguistically-based critical discourse analysis. PhD Thesis, Ulster University.
d’Ancona, M. (2017). Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back. Ebury Press.
McIntosh, J. and Mendoza-Denton, N, eds. (2020). Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies. Cambridge University Press.
Seargeant, P. (2020). The Art of Political Storytelling: Why Stories Win Votes in Post-Truth Politics. Bloomsbury Academic.
Wodak, R. (2011). “‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Inclusion and Exclusion—Discrimination via Discourse.” In Identity, Belonging and Migration, ed. G. Delanty, R. Wodak, and P. Jones. Liverpool University Press. pp. 54-77.
216 | Samara Velte'Did this really happen?' The completion of voids and the re-organisation of narrative memory-building
Transmission of collective memory between generations is often seen as a unidirectional process through which discourses and knowledge ‘flow’ towards younger generations that learn about past events by simply receiving the information created by older generations. However, interdisciplinary approaches to Memory Studies, combined with Cultural Studies and Discourse Analysis, agree more and more on the fact that the construction of a shared memory involves the ‘transmitting’ group as much as the ‘receiving’ younger generation.
Narratives about the past are always constucted from a present viewpoint, and they usually function as pillars of a collective identity or an individual identity within a group, in accordance with the group’s self-image and interests (Erll, 2017). They are, in that sense, reconstructive (Halbwachs, 1994) and dependent on the current socio-cultural context of the group that remembers. Memory, from a social point of view, is primarily a discursive act which involves not only the creation of discourses but also an active processing of the latter.
In this article, we argue that narratives about the past in memory-making are often constructed through mechanisms defined by Critical Dicourse Analysis, such as Van Dijk’s mental model theories (Van Dijk 1997; 2003; Wodak, 2006): when confronted with new information about unknown past events, speakers rely on socially conditioned schemata in order to organise information, synthesize relevant data and fill infomative voids, even if this often alters some aspects of the original meaning of the narrative. This relates to the concept of ‘colonisation’ as defined by Ruth Wodak (2011).
We explore practical examples obtained from interviews with adolescents belonging to the first post-conflict generation after the end of the Basque armed conflict (1958-2018), who try to re-build narratives about the past violence based on mediated memories, since they do not have almost any direct memories about that time, nor have they had any kind of formal education on this topic. Making use of Critical Discourse Analysis, we observe that they often fill gaps of information by relying on context models about other armed conflicts and terrorism. We conclude that the construction of memory and the transmission of narratives are inter-active and socially influenced discursive practices rather than uni-directional transmission processes of data, and that an interdisciplinary analytical approach that goes beyond the classical scheme of ‘sender and receiver’ is needed.
Erll, Astrid. 2017. Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erninerungskulturen: Eine Einführung. 3rd ed. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler.
Halbwachs, Maurice. 2004. Los marcos sociales de la memoria. Barcelona: Anthropos.
Van Dijk, Teun A. 1997. «Cognitive Context Models and Discourse». in Language Structure, Discourse and the Access to Consciousness. John Benjamins.
Van Dijk, Teun A. 2003. «The Discourse-Knowledge Interface». Pp. 85-108 in Critical Discourse Analysis. Theory and Interdisciplinarity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wodak, R. (2006). «Mediation between discourse and seociety: assessing cognitive approaches by CDA». Discourse Studies, 8(1), 179–190.
Wodak, R. (2011). «La historia en construcción/ La construcción de la historia. “Wehrmacht alemana” en los recuerdos colectivos e individuales de Austria». Discurso & Sociedad, 5(1), 160–195.
260 | Francesco NacchiaWines Are Living Beings: A Critical Metaphor Analysis of the Organicist-Animist Metaphor in Promotional Wine-Tasting Notes.
The exploration of metaphorization dynamics from diverse perspectives and approaches has provided strong scholarly evidence that conceptual metaphors are pervasive in wine discourse (A. Lehrer 2009; L. Amoraritei 2002; I. Negro 2012 among others). If, on the one hand, the heavy reliance on metaphors makes up for the lack of words for sensorial properties (R. Caballero and C. Paradis 2015) and facilitates the wine writer’s work in the verbalization of the aesthetic tasting experience, on the other hand, it is generally believed that the use of extra-domain terms heightens the sense of belonging to an ‘aristocratic’ community and the illusion of affinity between the buyer and the product (P. Bourdieau 1984; Breit 2014).
Based on these premises, the proposed paper, which places itself at the borders of Critical Discourse Studies, Specialised Terminology and Translation Studies, presents a corpus-based investigation of the organicist-animist metaphor ‘wines are living beings’ (R. Caballero and E. Suárez-Toste, 2008) in tasting-notes describing Campania’s wines in Italian and English in the context of online promotional discourse. More specifically, the research aims at (i) the identification of non-standard wine descriptors used by Campania’s wine writers; (ii) their classification into semantic areas; and (iii) the identification of “social agency that is involved in the production and their social role in persuasion” (J. Charteris-Black 2004, p. 39).
The theoretical foundation of the research is based on 'Critical Metaphor Analysis' developed by J. Charteris-Black (2004) out of the alignment of 'Conceptual Metaphor Theory' (G. Lakoff and M. Johnson 1980) with 'Critical Discourse Analysis' (N. Fairclough 1995; G. Kress and R. Hodge 1979). The corpus used for this study is comprised of two parallel sub-corpora of 567 Italian and English tasting notes (84,087 and 71,701 tokens, respectively) collected from the websites of Campania’s wineries producing labeled wines (i.e., DOP, DOC, DOCG, IGP, and IGT) that are included in the "Guida Catalogo delle Aziende Vitivinicole e Vinicole della Campania". The metaphor categorisation is based on R. Caballero and E. Suárez-Toste’s (2008) framework for categorising wine metaphors and the wine-specific metaphorical schema developed by I. Negro (2012). Additionally, the text-processing software AntWordProfiler (A. Laurence 2011) is exploited to determine the extent to which Campania’s winemakers rely on national and international terminological recommendations.
Amoraritei L. (2002), “La Métaphore en OEnologie”, Metaphorik, no. 3, pp. 4-16.
Bourdieu P. (1984), A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Breit B. W. (2014), “Appraisal Theory applied to Wine Tasting Sheet in English and Spa-nish”, Ibérica, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 97-120.
Caballero R. and Paradis C. (2015), “Making Sense of Sensory Perceptions Across Langua-ges and Cultures”, Functions of Language, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 1-19.
Caballero R. and Suárez-Toste E. (2008), “Translating the Senses: Teaching the Metaphors in Winespeak”, Applications of Cognitive Linguistics, pp. 379-396.
Charteris-Black J. (2004), Corpus Approaches to Critical Metaphor Analysis, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Fairclough N. (1995), Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language, Long-man, Chicago.
Kress G. & Hodge R. (1979), Language as Ideology. London: Routledge
Lakoff G. and Johnson M. (1980), Metaphors We Live by, University of Chicago Press, Chi-cago.
Lehrer A. (1983, 2009), Wine and Conversation, 1st and 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, New York.
Negro I. (2012), “Wine Discourse in the French Language”, Revista Electrónica de Lingüi-stica Aplicada, no. 11, pp. 1-12.
262 | Adrià GibernauThe binomial information - redundancy as self-concept structure: a semiotic narrative analysis of life stories
In narrative and discursive psychology, self-narratives are widely accepted as crucial to creating and defining identity and the so-called sense of self (McAdams, 2011; Harré & Moghaddam, 2014). Thus, based on the assumption that the narrative structure which scaffolds life stories is an essential aspect in order to understand individual’s subjectivity, this research aims to glimpse the common values that underlie self-narratives according to the stage of life.
From this premise, the “information-redundancy” binomial presented by Shannon and Weaver’s communication theory (Shannon, 1948) is taken as a reference to introduce two socially shared semantic poles which we hypothesize that implicitly regulate not only collective subjectivity but also personal self-narratives. That is, two nodes of meaning which refer to the common sense and are diametrically opposed. On the one hand, the information overload semantic pole is associated with unpredictable, chaotic, and dynamic features, which are socially represented through concepts such as freedom, chaos, or discovery. On the other hand, redundancy semantic pole is linked to predictable, ordered, and static aspects, and it is socially manifested through power, control, or stability. Therefore, for this work’s propose, Shannon and Weaver’s “information-redundancy” binomial is reconceptualized as an “uncontrolled–controlled” dichotomy which semantically structures self-narratives, and consequently, subject’s self-concept and the identities performed.
In order to study this phenomenon a qualitative analysis based on narrative semiotics proposed by Greimas (1966) and adapted by Ruiz Collantes (2019) was performed. Even though it was never used to analyze self-narratives before, it was shown that the identification of narrative phases and characters in life stories give evidence of underlying significant value structures which guide subjects’ intentionality. Also, a categorization analysis and a metaphor analysis, according to CDA was carried out.
As expected, results revealed that the significant values and wills which structure subjects under the age of thirty self-narratives are related to the semantic pole of lack of control while subjects over the age of forty narratives are identified with the controlled semantic pole. From these results, it can be concluded that the “lack of control – control” binomial is a key variable in the production of self-narratives, and extensively, it can be proposed that the position assumed by the subject regarding control will have a strong influence on subject’s self-concept and the identities which he or she performs.
These conclusions, have two main implications. First, methodologically, it is shown that a psychological aspect such as self-concept can be studied with the tools presented by standard narrative analysis. Second, in terms of normativity, young age is culturally understood as a dynamic stage, where control is avoided. On the other hand, adulthood is presented as a stable period, where keeping privileges is the most valued goal.
- Greimas, A. J. (1966). Sémantique structurele: Recherche de méthod. PUF.
- Harré, R., & Moghaddam, F. M. (2014). Positioning theory. In N. Bozatzis & T. Dragonas (Eds.), The discursive turn in social psychology (pp. 129–138). Taos Institute Publications.
- McAdams, D. P. (2011). Narrative identity. In S. J. Schwartz, K. Luyckx & V. L. Vignoles (Eds.), Handbook of identity theory and research (pp. 99-115). Springer
- Ruiz Collantes, F. X. (2019). La construcción del relato político. Universitat de València. Servei de publicacions.
- Shannon, C. E. (1948). A mathematical theory of communication. The Bell system technical journal, 27(3), 379-423.
285 | Inge BeekmansConverging identity narratives, national beliefs and business values in Big Tech Hearings’ discourse
Starting from the notion that understanding Big Tech’s ideological beliefs about society is a prerequisite for assessing how their evolving dominance might impact the future organisation of society, this paper offers a critical analysis of the opening statements that were produced by the CEOs of four major tech companies during the 2020 Antitrust Hearings. Due to the circumstances under which these statements were produced — stemming inter alia from looming antitrust regulations and public criticism —, these texts can be regarded as ‘critical discourse moments’ (Chilton, 1988); meaning that the values and beliefs of the CEOs are foregrounded in the collision between their discourses and the discourses of government and politics. In this sense, the opening statements reveal ‘world views’ that inform Big Tech’s control over vital intersections of social ‘infrastructures’ (Srnicek, 2016) and show how ‘common sense’ ideas about the organisation of society might be reproduced, transformed or rejected. Additionally, the fact that the four different statements were all produced in relation to broadly predetermined, corresponding and publicly visible conditions as part of the same event allows for comparisons between them — an observation that does, however, stress the need to address the consequences the ‘genre-specificity’ of the selected research data might have (Verschueren, 2013).
Using Critical Discourse Analysis as a main research approach (Blommaert, 2005), this paper finds that the opening statements contain an intricate merger between (inter)national imaginaries, identity narratives and business values. The United States of America is constructed as a safe haven for individuals who value a specific interpretation of ‘freedom’, and Big Tech’s technologies are presented as vehicles that distribute ‘American’ values and beliefs. With regard to these values, freedom, innovation, success and leadership are put forward as fundamental. These values and beliefs are, for example, manifested by the ways in which competition and ‘opportunity’ — which is a key concept in all statements — are proposed as intrinsically linked and dependent upon economically driven government (non-)intervention. Together, these different factors generate notions of an ideal society in which tech companies lead the way towards a ‘growing pie of revenue’ that can be shared with businesses and individuals who welcome opportunities in accordance with the principles of Big Tech. As a by-product, this paper also contributes to knowledge about the analysis of publicly streamed opening statements as a genre or mode. Specifically, it demonstrates which practices in relation to the affordances of video conferencing platforms might be perceived as ‘common sense’ and which practices might still be ambivalent.
Blommaert, J. (2005). Discourse: A Critical Introduction (Illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Chilton, P. (1988). Critical Discourse Moments and Critical Discourse Analysis: Towards a Methodology.
Srnicek, N. (2016). Platform Capitalism. Wiley.
Verschueren, J. (2013). Ideology in Language Use: Pragmatic Guidelines for Empirical Research (Reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press.