Critical Literacy, Communication and Interaction: Unit 4


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Critical Literacy, Communication and Interaction 1: Unit 4

This unit focuses on Ideology, Discourse and Political Discourse

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Critical Literacy, Communication and Interaction: Unit 4

  1. 1. Critical Literacy, Communication and Interaction 1 (GE3A)<br />University of Aruba<br />FAS: SW&D / OG&M<br />September 29, 2009<br />1<br />
  2. 2. Today’s program:<br />2<br />Reflection on where we are now, connecting the dots between Units 1, 2, 3 and 4.<br />Focus on Unit 4<br />
  3. 3. Reflect on where we are now<br />3<br />[UNIT 1] <br /> We communicate through ‘codes’<br />[UNIT 2] <br />Being ‘Literate’ means being able to understand these different ‘codes’<br />[UNIT 3] When addressing the verbal code in this course, we focus on language. Language as a system of symbols used solely to communicate. The focus is on discourse.Discourse as actual instances of communication in the medium language. <br />Discourse as socially constructed knowledges of some aspect of reality. Transformation of realities.<br />
  4. 4. “Down the rabbit hole & Wonderland”<br />4<br />
  5. 5. Discourse: Language, constructed knowledges (Realities) and Social Practice<br />5<br />
  6. 6. 6<br />Unit 4:<br />Ideologies & Political Discourse<br />
  7. 7. Unit 4:<br />7<br />Ideologies:<br />Part one: Discourse and Ideologies<br />Cognition & Ideology<br />Society& Ideology<br />Discourse & Ideology<br />Part two: Political Discourse <br />Political Discourse, a specific discourse with a specific purpose to ‘teach’ ideologies and legitimize power.<br />
  8. 8. Objectives UNIT 4 (part 1: Ideologies and Discourse)<br />8<br />To explore the concept of ideology<br />How ideology relates to cognition, society and discourse<br />Explore the structure of ideologies<br />Explore the relationship between ideologies and social groups<br />We shall pay special attention to the discursive dimensions of ideologies. We want to know how ideologies may be expressed (or concealed!) in discourse; <br />And how ideologies may be reproduced in society<br />Focus on Political Discourse: legitimization of power through language.<br />
  9. 9. Your meaning of ‘Ideology’<br />9<br />How would do you define ‘ideology’?<br />Which associations do you get, when you hear the concept ‘ideology’ ?<br />
  10. 10. 2 Videos<br />10<br /><br /><br />
  11. 11. Cognition, Society & Discourse<br />11<br />Ideology & cognition : <br />in terms of the social cognitions that are shared by the members of a group<br />Ideology & society<br />in terms of the social dimension explaining what kind of groups, relations between groups and institutions are involved in the development and reproduction of ideologies<br />Ideology & discourse<br />In terms of discourse explaining how ideologies influences our daily texts and talk and in terms of how we understand ideological discourse and how discourse is involved in the reproduction of ideology in society<br />
  12. 12. What are Ideologies? (1)<br />12<br />The concept of Ideology is a vague and one of the most contested concepts in the social sciences.<br />Intuitively we associate Ideology with systems of ideas, especially the social, political or religious ideas shared by a social group or movement.<br />E.g. of wide spread ideologies: Communism, ant-communism, socialism and liberalism, racism, anti-racsim, pacifism, militarism <br />Group members who share such ideologies stand for a number of very general ideas that are at the basis of their more specific believes about the world, guide their interpretation of events, and monitor their social practices<br />
  13. 13. What are Ideologies? (2)<br />13<br />We’ll use the term in psychology that describes ‘thoughts’ of any kind: BELIEVES<br />General working definition: Ideologies are the fundamental beliefs of a group and its members<br />
  14. 14. Negative connotation of the concept:‘false consciousness’ or ‘misguided believes’ (1)<br />14<br />Marxism Approach(Marx & Engels): Ideologies as ‘false consciousness’ or ‘misguided believes:<br />Ideologies are forms of ‘false consciousness’, meaning: popular but misguided beliefs inculcated by the ‘ruling’ class in order to ‘legitimate’ the ‘status quo’ and to conceal the real socioeconomic conditions of workers<br />As systems of self-serving ideas of dominant groups<br />This is a negative concept of ideology that is prevalent in social sciences (implying a negative connotation to the concept), where it was traditionally being used in opposition to true scientific knowlegde<br />
  15. 15. Negative connotation of the concept:‘false consciousness’ or ‘misguided believes’ (2)<br />15<br />This negative notion of ‘ideology’ has also become central element in the commonsense and political uses of the term ‘a system of false, misguided and misleading believes’<br />For instance, in the ideology of anti-communism that for decades dominated (still does) politics and even scholarship in much of the Western World (cold war). Ideology was then associated with communism<br />Function of Ideologies in this negative approach of the concept: Legitimization of dominance <br />Positive ideologies: systems that sustain and legitimatize opposition and resistance against domination and social inequality  ‘UTOPIAS’ (K.Mannheim). E.g. feminism, anti-rascism<br />
  16. 16. (Anti) Communist art<br />16<br />
  17. 17. 17<br />
  18. 18. Consequence of negative notion of the concept Ideology:<br />18<br />This negative use of the concept Ideology presupposes the following polarization between US and THEM:<br />Implying a social polarization between in-group (US) and out-group (THEM)<br />So in the case of Communism and Anti-Communism, from the perspective of the anti-comm: “ WE (defenders of freedom) have true knowledges, THEY (the communists) have ideologies.”<br />WE have true knowledge<br />THEY have Ideologies<br />
  19. 19. Approaching Ideology as a general notion:<br />19<br />Ideologies don’t need to be negative (existence of Utopias), they don’t need to be about dominance. (Non-dominant can also be negative, e.g. religious sects or right wing extremists)<br />A general theory of ideology allows a broader and more flexible application of the concept.<br />Of course, this doesn’t exclude taking a critical stance when studying ideologies (system of believes of group members), (as you will see. That is the purpose of this course)<br />
  20. 20. Ideology as the basis of social practices<br />20<br />As ‘systems of believes of social groups’ (and movements) ideologies make sense in order to understand the world (from the point of view of the group). <br />Ideologies help understand the social practices of group members<br />E.g. sexist and racist ideologies are at the basis of discrimination (=social practice)<br />E.g. pacifist ideologies may be used against nuclear weapons<br />E.g. ecological ideologies will guide against pollution<br />Often Ideologies emerge from group conflict and struggle: pitching US against THEM<br />
  21. 21. 21<br />
  22. 22. One crucial social practice: ‘Language use’<br />22<br />One of the crucial social practices influenced by ideologies are language use and discourse.<br />Which in turn, influence how we acquire, learn or change ideologies:<br />Much of our discourse, especially when we speak as members of groups, expresses ideologically based opinions<br />We Learn ideological ideas: by reading and listening to other group members (beginning with parents and peers), watching TV, reading text books at school, advertising, the newspaper, novels, participating in everyday conversations with friends, family and colleagues (and so on…)<br />Some discourse genre have the specific purpose of ‘teaching’ ideologies to group members of newcomers:<br />E.g. catechism, party rallies, indoctrination and political propaganda<br />
  23. 23. 23<br />
  24. 24. Let’s compare some ideological icons<br />24<br /><br />Capitalism<br />Altruism<br />Ant-materialism<br />
  25. 25. Types of memories and types of believes<br />25<br />Ideologies often have an evaluative dimension.<br />This can affect our knowledge, attitudes and believes<br />Cognitive science: distinction between LTM and STM<br />Ideological believes are located in the LONG TERM Memory (LTM)<br />Social Memory: shared believesand knowledges (LTM)<br />Common Ground knowledge (LTM)<br />Episodic memory: everyday activities (STM) Short term memory. Is subjective, autobiographical, unique<br />Ideologies are social shared by a group (Social Memory) and influence our daily activities (Episodic Memory)<br />
  26. 26. The organization of Ideologies<br />26<br />Not organized in the mind in arbitrary ways. The mind and its memory is organized in categories. Ideologies have a ‘system’ (organization) of believes.<br />This system has an ‘schema-like’ nature: it consists of a number of conventional categories that allows social actors to rapidly understand, build, rejector modifyan ideology<br />The categories that define the ideological schema derive from the basic properties of social groups<br />If ideologies underlie the social beliefs of a group, then the identity and identification of group member must follow a more or less fixed pattern of basic categories, together with practical rules of application<br />
  27. 27. Categories of the Ideological Schema:<br />27<br />Membership criteria: Who does (not) belong?<br />Typical activities: What do we do?<br />Overall aims: What do we want?<br />Norms and Values: What is good or bad for us?<br />Position: What are the relationships with other?<br />Resources: Who has access to our group resources?<br /> (this schematic structure is purely theoretical!)<br />
  28. 28. 28<br />
  29. 29. Ideology as a form of Self (and Other) Representation:<br />29<br />A Schema of six categories which categorizes not only collective and individual action, but also organizes the ideologies of our mind. These categories define what it means to be a member of a group and to jointly feel as ‘one’ group A group self-schema<br />Ideology= A self (and other) representation: Us and Them + collective believes and hence criteria for identification for group members<br />Ideology=One of the basic forms of social cognition that at the same time define the identity of a group<br />
  30. 30. From Ideology to Discourse and vice versa<br />30<br />A specific property of forms of social cognition is that they are by definition generaland abstract. They need to be, because they should apply in a large variety of everyday situations. <br />E.g. Racist ideologies embody how WE think about THEM in general, and individual group members (depending on the social context) ‘apply’ these general opinions in concrete situations, and hence in concrete discourse<br />There may be a wide gap between the abstract, general ideologies on the one hand, and how people produce and understand discourse or engage in other social practices on the other hand.<br />Exception: discourses that are explicitly ideological, such as to those that teach or explain ideologies to new group members or defend ideologies against attacks from outsiders.<br />
  31. 31. ‘Intermediary’ (bridging) representations between ideologies and discourse <br />31<br />In order to relate ideology to discourse, group attitudes and group knowledge (=other forms of social cognitions) function as intermediaries. <br />But even these still are general and abstract; hence we need a more specific interface between social cognition and discourse!!!<br />Let’s take a look at a schema representing our discussion so far: (next sheet)<br />
  32. 32. Interaction / Discourse<br />So Far, in a simple schema…<br />32<br />Social memory<br />Group Knowledge<br />Group Attitudes<br />Group Ideology<br />Socio-Cultural Knowledge (Common Ground)<br />
  33. 33. The role of mental models…<br />33<br />Distinction between social memory and personal (autobiographical) memory (episodic memory)<br />Episodic memory are made of mental representations of the episodes that give rise to our daily lives (from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall as sleep= mental models<br />We have mental models of daily events we participate in, witness (in reality or tv), or read about. Models of events, actions, situations, as well as their participants, of which the autobiographical models of events we participate in ourselves are a specific case mental models are personal and subjective<br />
  34. 34. Mental Models<br />34<br />The way we perceive, understand or interpret our daily reality (represent) takes place via construction and reconstruction (updating/modification) of our mental models. <br />These representations are influenced by previous experiences (old models) and these may bias my current perceptions and interpretations.<br />Mental models also embody opinions about events we read or hear about.<br />The structure of mental models : schema of events (social practices) consisting of actions, participants (things, people), setting (time, place)<br />An important property of Mental models is that they feature instantiations (specifications, examples) of more general and abstract believes (including social cognitions)<br />
  35. 35. Mental models, Instantiations, Ideological influence <br />35<br />E.g. how instantiations work: Reading about a specific event in the Iraq war, may involve specific instantiations of our general socially shared knowledge about war, armies, (anti)democracy, U.S.A. These don’t need to be spelled out in the mental model. They only must be present in the background point to more general knowledge, from which they may be inferred when actually needed to understand an event.<br />Knowledge, attitudes and indirectly ideologies (social representations) influence the structure of our mental models. This means we are able to ‘translate’ general ideologies to specific experiences as embodied in mental models. <br />When affected by ideologically-based opinion: models are ideologically ‘biased’: They represent or construct events from the perspective of one (or more) ideological groups.<br />But the ideological influence on mental models is not purely automatic. People are not (fully) dependent on their ideologies. Earlier personal experiences and other knowledge (and other ideologies) play an important role in the construction of mental models.<br />
  36. 36. Mental models & Ideological conflict<br />36<br />Ideological conflict: at the level of personal experiences, people may be confronted with ideological conflict and confusion. This because we identify with several social groups at the same time, meaning a conflict of different ideological positions<br />E.g. you may be a woman, at the same time a mother, a professional writer, a socialist, a feminist, a atheist and so on, and the representations of your personal life experiences may require opinions that are not always compatible with these various identities.<br />Depending on the specific social situation (context) you then find yourself in will influence your choice in resolving the ideological conflicts<br />
  37. 37. Mental models….Discourse<br />37<br />Mental models are the most important interface between ideologies and discourse. They are important for the representation of our personal experiences and they are the basis of the production and comprehension of action and discourse. E.g. If I want to tell about an event, I need to use my mental model in which I have represented that event; if I listen to a story, I try to construct a mental model (mine!)which allows me to understand the story<br />Communicating involves the expression of mental models and understanding the construction (or updating) of mental models. How does this happen? (next sheet)<br />
  38. 38. How does this happen?<br />38<br />One way to explicitly connect models with discourse is to derive the meanings of a discourse (its semantic representation) from the propositions the model is made of. <br />These semantic representations are only a small selection of the information represented in the model that is used to understand discourse. <br />Models are much richer in information than discourse. We only select information on the basis of what is needed in the communication/interaction event. <br />
  39. 39. Discourses are like Icebergs <br />39<br />Mental model construction, updating in order to understand and interpret. ‘Negotiation of mental models’<br />Discourses<br />Shared social believes; <br />Social memory<br />
  40. 40. Important question:<br />40<br /> How do speakers know what information to include in a discourse, and what information to leave implicit?<br />Speakers have believes about the believes of recipients; <br />a) socially shared beliefs that belong to the Common Ground <br />b) knowing people personally and intimately implies that we know more of the specific (model) information they have.<br />c) socially shared but specific information about events that are distributed (and presupposed) by the media, knowledge we call ‘historical’ <br />E.g. a newspaper article don’t need to explain to its readers what World War 2 or the Holocaust are.<br />So, as a speaker, you need to know social shared information and what does the speaker does not yet know in order to compose your expression<br />So we are missing a connecting link (call it interface) between mental models and Discourse<br />
  41. 41. Model of communicative situation:The function of Context models (contexts)<br />41<br />Context models= are models like those of any other event, with the difference that they represent the current, ongoing communicative event in which you and I are now being involved as participants.<br />NEGOTIATION OF MEANING happens here: Negotiation of social shared believes and Mental models (updating and constructing) <br />The context model of the situation (that is, the context or context model) is merely a subjective construct of that social situation, and features all information that is relevant for the interpretation of the ongoing discourse<br />Context models are dynamic, just as communication processes are dynamic (ongoing): They evolve and change with each word being said and written, thus, making all previously uttered and understood text or talk automatically part of the known context.<br />A) Information relevant for discourse, B) Contextualization<br />Context models are not only about Relevance, but also about people’s ability to adapt themselves to current situations on the basis of a combination of old information and the capacity to analyze current situations. Context models also influence communication styles<br />
  42. 42. Ideological Context Models<br />42<br />Just as Mental Models may be ideologically biased, Context models can also be ideologically biased. <br />Ideology social group identification<br />As a speaker I may categorize myself and other participants as members of various social groups.<br />Ideologies not only may control what we speak or write about, but also how we do so<br />
  43. 43. 43<br />social situation<br />Interaction / discourse<br />Episodic memory <br />Context model<br />Episodic memory<br />Event mental model<br />Social memory<br />Group knowledge<br />Group Attitudes<br />IDEOLOGY<br />Common Ground <br />
  44. 44. Ideologies in society<br />44<br />Ideologies are essentially social.<br />Cognitive view: social memory, social cognition shared social representations of a group<br />Ideologies are social learned and distributed and collectively represented by a group. <br />Ideologies are in this sense at the same time cognitive and social<br />People bring there ideologies and these manifest themselves in social practices of everyday life (a crucial form is discourse): in text and talk, paraverbal activities that accompany talk (gestures, facial expressions etc). <br />
  45. 45. Social basis of Ideologies<br />45<br />Social practices that define people’s life: in the family, at work, during study, at leisure. E.g. discrimination at work, materialistic values in the family, sexism between spouses, philanthropic donations, being hostile to other people from a political party during campaign times.<br />There is a close relationship between ideology, social identity, group self-schemata, social practices.<br />And the social construction of the group suggests that groupness may be inherently linked to having an ideology<br />
  46. 46. 46<br />Social groups<br />
  47. 47. Ideology and Power<br />47<br />Why do people develop ideologies?<br />Cognitively: ideologies may be developed because they organize social representations<br />Social basis: people are better able to form groups based on identification along various dimensions, including sharing an ideology<br />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)<br />At macro level, ideologies are described in terms of group relations, in terms of power, dominance (control) but also cooperation<br />
  48. 48. Power<br />48<br />
  49. 49. Social power and Ideologies<br />49<br />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.<br />Since discourse is also a form of action, such control may be also exercised over discourse and its properties: context, topic and style.<br />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<br />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.<br />Control of discourse (sender)taking a critical stand<br />To have power, you have to legitimize it. <br />
  50. 50. General strategy for ideological analysis of discourse<br />50<br />A method to ‘find’ ideology in text and talk.<br />We’ll link this method with the self-schema of groups<br />Membership: who are we? Who belong to us? Who can be admitted?<br />Activities: What are we doing? Planning? What is expected of us?<br />Aims: why are we doing this? What do we want to achieve?<br />Norms: What is good or bad? Allowed or not allowed in what we do?<br />Relations: Who are our friends? Or enemies? Where do we stand in society?<br />Resources: What do we have that others don’t? What don’t we have that others do have?<br />
  51. 51. Strategy: US and ThemPolarization<br />51<br />Positive self-presentation / Negative other-Representation:<br />Say positive things about US<br />Say negative things about THEM<br />Do not say negative things about US<br />Do not say positive things about THEM<br />This is a very general characteristic of group conflict and the ways we interact we opposed groups, but also this strategy also characterizes the way we talk about ourselves and others <br />As formulated above, the strategy is to absolute, direct and general<br />Let’s look at a more subtle strategy to express ideologies in text and talk<br />
  52. 52. Ideological Square (van Dijk, 2004)<br />52<br />Emphasize positive things about US<br />Emphasize negative things about THEM<br />De-emphasize negative things about US<br />De-emphasize positive things about THEM<br />These 4 possibilities form a conceptual square ideological square. <br />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,<br />
  53. 53. Part 2: Political Discourse<br />53<br /><br />FITNA<br />Meaning: Temptation, A test<br />Theological sense: God tests your ability to withdraw from temptation. Testing the power of believers of Islam<br />
  54. 54. Political Discourse<br />54<br />“ 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)<br />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<br />The more democratic societies become, the greater the need of the leader to convince potential followers that they and their policy can be trusted<br />Purpose: To legitimize power, (to de-legitimize power of the other) to mobilize<br />Language, discourse, the most important tool for this.<br />Language of leadership<br />
  55. 55. Persuasive strategies:<br />55<br />Powerful rhetorical devices are:<br />Communicating an ideology, myth and metaphors  expressive power for potential cognitive and emotional engagement.<br />Metaphor is a persuasive figure of speech very common in political arguments, because it represents a certain way of viewing the world that reflects a shared system of believe (ideology). It has cognitive imaginary rich and emotional valueexperience<br />
  56. 56. 3 political myths (Geiss, 1987)<br />56<br />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.<br />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<br />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<br />