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The Smacking Debate


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The Smacking Debate

  1. 1. “The Smacking Debate”<br />Language, Discourse and Power, Assignment 3<br />Jan Scott<br />
  2. 2. A FOUCAULDIAN DISCOURSE ANALYSIS<br />TWO CONTRADICTORY TEXTS<br />TEXT 1: <br />Citizens Initiated <br />Referendum.<br />TEXT 2: <br />Dave’s Blog.<br />“Hi, I&apos;m Dave and I think I know it all. Prove me wrong.”<br /><br />Each text constructs a different reality of what constitutes a good parent.<br />
  3. 3. TEXT 1:<br /><ul><li> Citizens Initiated Referendum
  4. 4. Sent to all eligible voters in New Zealand.
  5. 5. Administered by Elections New Zealand, official government agency.
  6. 6. Voters must answer yes or no.</li></li></ul><li>TEXT 2: DAVE’S BLOG<br /><br />“Non smacking works!”<br />“I find that non-smackers usually understand discipline very well because they need to put a lot of thought and effort into it. If you don’t smack your kids you must have a well planned, consistent approach to punishment. I’m sure it actually helps me keep track of how consistent my discipline is.”<br />“I think my children are very well behaved. I have three (2, 4 & 18) and none of them have ever been smacked. Not because I’m so morally righteous but because it’s working.”<br /><ul><li> Online blog
  7. 7. Three short extracts</li></ul>taken from a longer discourse.<br /><ul><li> Written by an </li></ul> ordinary New <br /> Zealand father of <br /> three.<br /><ul><li> Has received</li></ul> positive and negative<br /> feedback from others.<br />
  8. 8. The Smacking Debate<br /><ul><li> Legitimisation:</li></ul>Referendum: <br /><ul><li> Official status confers authority
  9. 9. In group: Citizens, good parents.
  10. 10. Out group: Bad parents.</li></ul>Dave:<br /><ul><li> Parent of three children confers expertise
  11. 11. In group: Non-smacking good parents. Think about discipline.
  12. 12. Out group: Parents who smack for correction.
  13. 13. Dichotomisation:</li></ul>Referendum:<br /><ul><li> Good parents correct by smacking. Treated as criminals.
  14. 14. Bad parents don’t smack.</li></ul>Dave:<br /><ul><li> Good parents don’t smack. Think about effective means of discipline.
  15. 15. Bad parents don’t think. They smack.</li></li></ul><li>The Smacking Debate<br />“Discourse begins at the lexicogrammatical level.” <br />Lee, C. (2007). ‘Relatively benign corruption’? Critical Discourse Analysis for media students. Australian Journal of Communication Studies, 34(2), 91-102<br />Strategies of wording and grammar:<br />Referendum:<br /><ul><li> No agent or object of smack
  16. 16. Removes focus from parents hitting children
  17. 17. Focuses on fear of criminalisation.</li></ul>Dave:<br /><ul><li> Personal experience confirms his expertise.
  18. 18. First person pronoun to show he is the agent who does not smack children.
  19. 19. “My children” are direct objects.</li></li></ul><li>The Smacking Debate<br />Discourse becomes reality with tangible effects<br /><ul><li> 88% of respondents voted “NO!”
  20. 20. Accepted that good parents would be criminalised.
  21. 21. 46% of eligible voters did not vote
  22. 22. Rejected the wording and the version of reality it constructed.
  23. 23. Police officers instructed on how to interpret law to avoid</li></ul> prosecution of good parents.<br /><ul><li> Government announces review of policies surrounding smacking.
  24. 24. “Ensure parents are treated as Parliament intended.”</li></li></ul><li>The Smacking Debate<br />Conclusion:<br />
  25. 25. The Smacking Debate<br />References:<br />Chief Electoral Office. (2009). Retrieved October 8, 2009, from launched.html<br />Lee, C. (2007). ‘Relatively Benign corruption’? Critical discourse analysis for media students. Australian Journal of Communication Studies, 34(2), 91-102.<br />New Zealand Government. Press Release. Terms of reference for review announced. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from<br />New Zealand Police. Police practice guide for new Section 59. Retrieved October 8, 2009 from<br />Owen, D. (2009). Project Dave. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from<br />Study Guide. (2009). Study Guide for Language, Discourse and Power. Massey University, School of Language Studies.<br />