Critical discourse studies and hegemony – A gramscian approach

Conference paper


Castaldi, J. 2018. Critical discourse studies and hegemony – A gramscian approach.
AuthorsCastaldi, J.
TypeConference paper
Description

The concept of hegemony has often been called upon in the Critical Discourse Studies (CDS) literature, but primarily with the view that any discourse that attempts to represent dominant ideologies as natural or commonsensical is hegemonical (Machin and Mayr 2012: 24; Wodak and Meyer, 2016: 9).

In order to gain a clearer understanding of the concept of hegemony and to make it methodologically and theoretically applicable to the CDS enterprise, this paper looks at Gramsci’s conceptualization of hegemony and investigates two key aspects: the purpose of hegemonic discourse and how this is produced or reproduced. Firstly, it is argued that hegemony, as a socio-political concept, is neither negative nor positive. Secondly, it is suggested that discourses, from a Gramscian perspective, can only be categorised as hegemonic if they are produced by the civil, rather than political, society. Thirdly, while acknowledging the importance of analysing political discourses and genres, it is proposed that the analysis of mass mediated popular genres should be prioritised in order to understand how contemporary hegemony works.

Such an approach, for instance, may provide an argument against one of the criticisms raised by Chilton (2005: 27), namely that humans possess what has been called Machiavellian intelligence and should therefore be able, at least in principle, to recognise the tactical deception which is at the basis of mind manipulation. It is suggested that what hegemonic discourse does is to come in forms (e.g. genres) that would not necessarily alert the counter-deception mechanisms due to being perceived as non-threatening by the receivers.
The wide reach of the mass mediated popular genres, finally, enables hegemonic discourse to spread ideologies on such a scale that it allows dominant powers to maintain their privileged position without using coercive means. A Gramscian approach to CDS can provide a framework to resist such discourses.

KeywordsCDS; Hegemony; Gramsci; Popular genres; Mass media
Year2018
ConferencePragmatics, Discourse, and Society
Official URLhttps://blogs.kent.ac.uk/pradisco/programme/
File
File Access Level
Open
References

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Deposited23 Sep 2020
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