chapter  4
36 Pages

The Politics of Text

The previous chapter (ĸchap. 3) looked at critical approaches to language that are concerned mainly with language use from an external perspective on how language operates socially: Who gets to use language(s)? How do we understand the social distribution of language? How is power conveyed and reproduced through language use? This chapter turns to the critical analysis of texts or discourses. Some of the questions are, on the one hand, quite similar: How do we relate a text to broader social and political contexts? How is power produced, conveyed, or diffused in acts of language use? How

do particular understandings of power and ideology affect how we look at texts? On the other hand, there is an important shift here to look at meaning and context: How is it that texts come to mean as they do? How can we understand the ways in which ideologies operate through texts? How do readers interpret texts, and what effects may this have?