The Interlocked Coding of Class and Gender
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The Interlocked Coding of Class and Gender book
When arguing that the interlocked coding of class and gender in the novel untwines in the course of the nineteenth century, I use linguistic terms as a framework: signs and syntax. The former are understood in the linguistic-cultural sense that Vološinov/Bakhtin describes and which has already been discussed. The significance of that description is the account of ‘multiaccentuality’ referred to in Chapter 1. For it is this which makes change in the system of signs possible: ‘This social multiaccentuality of the ideological sign is a very crucial aspect…it is thanks to this intersecting of accents that a sign maintains its vitality and dynamism and the capacity for further development’ (Matejka and Titunik 1986:23). Within recent history, for instance, the term radical (with reference to social and economic policies) acquired a dominant accent which assigned its favourable connotations to profoundly right-wing extremism. The previous dominant evaluation had ascribed these connotations to profoundly egalitarian positions on socio-economic policies. A change has taken place (though another may follow) as the hierarchy of accents shifted. The dominant accent is now right-wing.