This chapter attempts to identify problem areas and suggest possible remedial means to rectify critical literacy deficits of university students of English Studies who write research papers in Cultural and Media Studies (CMS) at the Institute of English Studies of Opole University, Poland. Despite sufficient levels of English proficiency and ever easier access to sources, students report daunting problems in selecting and framing their research objectives, stating their positions and arguing for them. They also find it hard to evaluate materials in terms of relevance and credibility. This chapter explores how critical literacy could be fostered by reviewing the contents of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) syllabi, considering students’ problems with writing research papers and suggesting how some forms of criticism, such as those derived from Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Language Awareness, could be incorporated in the curriculum, for example as an elective subject called Critical Literacy for Academic Purposes (CLAP).
This is a study of the use of English as a language of intercultural communication (as a lingua franca) in virtual global educational settings.1 The work is based on the discourse analysis of the cross-cultural online seminar IKARUS: Teaching and Learning in Virtual Learning Environments, supported by the European Commission, as part of its project on distance education. The linguistic problems of English as a lingua franca of virtual educational settings are related to cross-cultural communication between contextually different cultures (juxtaposition high/low, cultural dichotomy of West-East). The linguacultural aspects of intercultural online learning are examined and the issues of “electronic English” are discussed. The paper concludes with the most relevant findings of the study.
In Australia, as in the US and some other countries, climate change has become a highly polarised, politicised issue. There are few opportunities for citizens to engage in constructive dialogue rather than debate about this issue. My research asks how we can address this conflict in a more positive way. Its starting point is that practicing more constructive communication with each other is central to reaching any sort of reconciliation of different views and consent (if not consensus) for communal responses to climate change. It is interested in the social constructions of climate change rather than the physical phenomenon and recognises that our constructions are entwined with a myriad of others: social justice, development, human mastery and modernity, roles of the individual and the state, consumption and sustainability, relationship with nature to name a few. Often our failings to understand and engage with these complexities mean that we end up ‘talking past each other’. The research involves trialling a group engagement process in which participants explore their own and others’ views about climate change through dialogue and interactive exercises with the aim of reaching shared understanding of common ground and differences. The approach is transdisciplinary, drawing on discourse analysis, priming and framing theory, deliberative democracy, critical pedagogy and transformative learning. Crucially, it starts from participants’ own views about what climate change is and what it means to them. In follow-up interviews three months after the event, I will seek participants’ perceptions of the process as well as any shifts in their views and actions.
Karolina M. Burbach
This chapter is a theoretically guided empirical discussion of fashion and its role within the production of national identity in Germany. In the beginning of the 2000s, a new patriotism in contemporary German popular culture could be observed, starting with the fashion designer Eva Gronbach in 2001. Gronbach designed pieces in the German national colours and adorned them with the imperial eagle, which caused a big controversy in the German media. This new patriotism was the first patriotic tendency in German mainstream culture since the debates of 1968. I approach the term patriotism with the aid of one of Michel Foucault’s key terms, the notion of the episteme. Fashion images from collections by Gronbach are examined with regard to their role in the discourse of German patriotism. But I am not only interested in the ‘how’ of this discourse. Building up upon Antonio Gramsci’s notion of ‘cultural hegemony,’ I also explain the recent rise of this fashion patriotism. Thus, my discourse analysis of fashion becomes embedded in social struggles and transformations in Germany. Arguing that fashion is a discursive practice that can show up as well as promote changes in discursive formations, I assume a dialectical structure-agency conception: On the one hand the case of Gronbach hints at the deeper structural problematic of patriotism and social cohesion which allowed Gronbach to become popular. On the other hand, this structure is also produced via discursive practices such as Gronbach’s. What I term ‘inclusionary patriotism’ comprises cultural normalisation: everybody can take part in the new German fashion patriotism, as long as s/he is able to adapt him-/herself to cultural norms within Germany. Thus, the case of Gronbach demonstrates a ‘constrained heterogeneity’ with regard to the discourse of patriotism in Germany, in which diversity is only acceptable within certain discursively constructed limits.
Throughout history, Western society has disciplined female sexuality using strategies from confinement to persecution. Contemporary approaches, for example, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-TR (2004), pathologise female sexuality through use of medical diagnosis and labelling. The present study uses Foucauldian discourse analysis to deconstruct the films Fatal Attraction (1987), and Black Snake Moan (2006), as well as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR. The use of film demonstrates Foucault’s notion of dissemination, in which knowledge produced by disciplines are taken as ‘truth’ and this truth is then dispersed through various mediums, film being an example relevant for contemporary Western society. Results suggests that excess sexuality and emotion are represented as unsuitable for ‘normal’ women, leading to an assumption of psychological disorder. The use of this discourse in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR (2004), in the criteria for Histrionic and Borderline Personality Disorders, allows psychiatry and psychology to police and discipline female sexuality so that women who do not conform to traditional notions of femininity can be controlled via a diagnosis. These notions are then taken up and represented in popular films, so that the excessively sexual woman is further exaggerated and construed as ‘bad’ or ‘evil.’ The ideas put forth by psychiatry and by such films, then become intertwined and are difficult to separate. The result is then a society that works along with psychiatry to identify and stigmatise the ‘bad’ sexual woman.
A consortium of property developers set out to occupy 345 hectares of sea bed near Fremantle Port by claiming that their project, North Port Quay, would demonstrate that the community of Western Australia could ‘lead the world in sustainable development’. However, this legitimization strategy collapsed by late 2009 after the consortium’s proposed urbanism clashed with pre-existing imagining of Fremantle and environmental sustainability in a discourse of public concerns about the project. This chapter describes attempts by the consortium to claim the environmental high ground and their discursive failure in public encounters in Fremantle. The ecological risk of a carbon-constrained future articulated by proponents was transformed in the minds of their target audience into the ecological risk of the project’s construction while representations about investing in the city’s future meant unacceptable risk for Fremantle community. The threat of North Port Quay became an effective discursive tool, used successfully by a Greens party candidate to win the Fremantle seat in Western Australia’s parliament; producing an historic electoral victory for the Greens and ending 85 years of continuous Labor Party representation. The chapter is adapted from PhD research examining how representations of ecological threats, such as climate change, are applied as discursive resources for social action in the field of urban development. The research design consisted of a multi-method approach in which techniques of discourse analysis were applied to representations of ecological threat in public and media texts about North Point Quay. The chapter provides insight into how community imagining affects the negotiation of green urbanism.
The notion of heteroglossia, developed by Mikhail Bakhtin, refers to extralinguistic aspects of languages such as perspective or ideological positioning. Heteroglossia is a way to conceive the world as constructed by a continuous mass of languages, each of which stands for distinctive values and presuppositions in mutual relation or dialogue with others. In Bakhtin’s view, dialogue knows no sublation or centredness of bodies, but rather separateness and simultaneity are known as basic conditions of dialogism and existence. However, in a world where languages are ideologically burdened with conflicting social, political and cultural values, how can a non-centredness of bodies and, consequently, a shared experience be realised in intercultural dialogue? Could two written languages be interfused in one orthographic system? Could a text be designed so that simultaneously the users of both languages might read and understand it? In this chapter the notion of heteroglossia as a cardinal facet of dialogism is metaphorically employed to analyse a visual manifestation of the United Nations’ universal declaration of human rights, as a common ground, in two (divergent cultures) written languages: English and Farsi. To this end, this chapter proposes a coding system that is able to demonstrate ‘graphemic convergence’ of the two given languages. The outcome is a symbiotic composition where the legibility of one language depends upon the other, and users of the two languages come across a neutral point at which two languages merge as non-centred bodies. It is a demonstration of one spatio-visual plot and multiple voices, of two languages that occupy simultaneous but different space.
Theodora A. Maniou and Irene Photiou
Mass media concurrently shape and are shaped by social norms, in Cyprus as in all other cultures. Specific images, speech and/or actions are gendered in the media and such gendering is both linked to, and influential of, wider social and cultural norms, attitudes and practices. This chapter investigates gender and gender conflict as they are represented in two popular Cypriot media forms. The first, the Radio Sketches, is a radio entertainment programme that is unique in the media of Cyprus and which was one of the most popular media outputs in Cyprus from the 1950s until the late 1980s. The second mass medium considered in this chapter is lifestyle magazines, one of the most popular contemporary Cypriot mass culture forms. This chapter identifies and analyses specific features of the representations of gender relations that predominate in each of these media forms. As the entire spectrum of gender relations cannot be fully explored in a single project, we have chosen to focus our research to the investigation of how gendered images and characteristics manifest gender relations, and to explore the power relations conjured in and through these representations. Finally, we compare and contrast the findings from our studies of the Radio Sketches and lifestyle magazines. This enabled us to reflect on the changes in gendered images, and thereby gender relations, in popular Cypriot media over the period from the 1970s until today, and to consider how social change might relate to the alterations in these gendered media representations. We view this review as a first step in a larger investigation of the representations of gender relations in the most popular Cypriot media.
This chapter is based on PhD research looking at how competing conceptions of creative writing are articulated in an MA Creative Writing workshop. Drawing on observation of workshop sessions and interviews with students and tutors the research explores how participants identify with particular discourses when giving and receiving feedback and disavow certain subject positions in constructing their own. The chapter focuses on three workshop participants, Beth, Peter and Laurie, as they discuss Laurie’s draft chapter. In the chapter, I argue that the ‘creative writing’ subject is discursively produced via psychosocial processes of identification. The chapter explores how within interaction these identifications are articulated around competing signifiers / subject positions. In the context of the writing workshop, differential relations between participants lead to particular articulations of ‘creative writing’ becoming privileged. These privileged subject positions increasingly act as a discursive centre exercising a totalising effect on contiguous positions. In addition, the chapter foregrounds the way complex tussles over meanings identified within the workshop and interview transcripts can be interpreted as both conscious and unconscious identifications with particular subject positions. These identifications interrupt straightforward interpretations of what Celia Hunt has called writer identities and point towards the impossibility of maintaining some kind of ‘pure’ methodological position / identity in relation to creative writing. The research contributes to the theoretical discussion of creative writing pedagogy in the university, and the broader debate about the status of emotion within the academy.
Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar and Lis Furlani Blanco
In this chapter we aim to discuss and comprehend the gender relations through the analysis of the young women relations with food and food control. Through the discourse analysis of 60 semi-direct interviews, we observed that the idea of control is in both countries based on the relation between women and their food habits. This concept of control, built on self-responsibility is considered by these women as ‘normality’, even though it is completely related with food habits reflexibility and causes a rupture in the previous habits. Further than the problematic of aesthetic and health that motivates this idea of control, it represents a life style and a life hygiene, a life conquer, self control, that is built altogether with the idea of femininity.