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Language and Ideology Language in Ideology

Ruth Wodak
Lancaster University

This issue comprises papers which all address the relationship of language, politics and ideology in dierent ways and with dierent methodologies. On the one hand, neo-liberalism is dened as a specic ideological (economic) discourse which penetrates both the market as well as everyday lives; on the other, language is seen as intricately connected with ideological means without being ideological per se. Communication and language can be ideological but do not need to be; language can be political but does not need to be. Thus, Anton Pelinka claims that [p]olitics is not only parties and parliaments or war and peace politics is everything, at least potentially. Everything is political potentially. But everything is not seen politically. And not everything is the product of politics. The degree of political participation varies with the social and political changes. Language reects power structures and language has an impact on power structures. Language can be seen as an indicator of social and therefore political situations and language can also be seen as a driving force directed at changing politics and society. Language is an in-put as well as an out-put factor of political systems: It inuences politics and is inuenced by politics. Language can be an instrument for or against enlightenment, for or against emancipation, for or against democracy, for or against human rights. Language can be used by totalitarian regimes and it can be used as a mean of resistance against these regimes. (See Pelinka in this issue, 129131). Hence, language is intricately related to beliefs, opinions and ideologies (see van Dijk 1998; Wodak and Weiss 2004; Wodak 2006). The concept of ideology is probably one of the most complex of all the terms mentioned above. In the modern debate on ideology, two main argumentative strands or tendencies can be distinguished. One position argues that ideologies as false theories about reality can be overcome and replaced by scientic theories and/or scientically founded agency (Poppers Critical Rationalism, partly also Althusser and Habermas); another (dialectical) position assumes that ideology is
Journal of Language and Politics 6:1 (2007), 5. issn 15692159 / e-issn 15699862 John Benjamins Publishing Company

Ruth Wodak

an unavoidable moment of all thinking and acting (e.g. Adorno).1 One might also recur to Mannheim (1929), who attempts to relate ideology with certain ways of thinking (der Seinsverbundenheit des Denkens) and Habermas, who draws an analogy between ideologies on the collective level and rationalizing (rationalizations) on the individual level (1968). In the Lexikon der Politik (1995: 390) one can nd an interesting denition which links Mannheims and Habermas approaches: perceptions and opinions about the social and political realities of societies, which aim at truths and generalizations, although they contain untruths, half truths or unnished systems of thoughts and beliefs. Giddens (2001: 691) ties the dimensions of both inequality and power into a denition of ideology, whereas Thompson (1984) emphasizes the Marxian focus on false consciousness. National Socialism is a good example of the latter, as well as Stalinist communism. Moreover, as is well-known, many studies of these two grand (meta)-narratives have illustrated the characteristics of totalitarian ideologies on the levels of discourse and communication (see Maas 1984, Wodak and Kirsch 1995). However, according to Woolard (1992) and Silverstein (1992), basic problems appear in the analysis of texts and discourses when relating ideology mainly to denitions which include the Marxian notion of false consciousness (see also papers by Phelan and Holborow in this issue). Hence, three elaborations of this concept are of interest, and draw on discourse theories: Eagletons (2000) extensive discussion, Billigs notion of ideological dilemmas (1991) and Kienpointners approach (1999). Eagleton (2000: 8), for example, enumerates 16 dierent denitions of ideology, from false consciousness to opinions and visions. He continues, later on, with his own approach, which might be of help to understand ideologies as situated in discourses, as certain argumentative patterns, certain topoi, and the impact of these on listeners/viewers and readers. This implies the importance of context dependency of such meanings, because certain arguments, discourse fragments, and topoi are understood very dierently in dierent historical periods and socio-political contexts. Ideologies are therefore not to be equated with one or more quasi static discourses, but with intended or non-intended meanings, with illocutionary and perlocutionary forces. Such a context-dependent view of ideology seems adequate, since when analyzing certain speeches or other genres, we tend to detect ideological dilemmas, basic contradictions and dierent readings due to dierent contexts and to dierent audiences. The papers in this volume all dierentiate the many aspects of the ideological and political potential of language in various contexts and genres; simple equations, such as all language is ideological or every use of language serves ideological or political aims are proven wrong. Moreover, the contradictions between some critical analysis and socio-political actions and phenomena are illustrated, mainly through the critic of previous research on nuclear language which sug-

Language and Ideology Language in Ideology

gests that the power of nuclear weapons is mystied and mitigated as to be acceptable whereas political debates and diplomatic negotiations illustrate that many states eectively reject nuclear power in spite of the nuclear language: International relations theory overdetermines proliferation but few states possess nuclear arms. Matthew Woods article thus maintains the linguistic construction of proliferation accounts for the international non-nuclear order. The paper argues that scholars seem to attend to how words distort rather than create reality. Woods proposes a dierent kind of constructivism. Sean Phelan and Marnie Holborow both focus on the concept of neo-liberalism. While Phelan traces neo-liberalist discourses in editorials of newspapers, Holborow investigates the relationship of the dominance of English and its impact on the new world order. Phelan takes the stock market oatation of Telecom Eireann in July 1999 which remains as he suggests the biggest privatisation in the history of the Irish state as his point of departure. By applying Faircloughs critical discourse analysis framework (Fairclough 2003), he examines editorials both before and after the companys initially successful oatation in six Irish broadsheet newspapers. The results of the analysis point to a plurality of neo-liberal discourses and styles, which can be partly understood in terms of the media eld identity of the dierent newspapers thus, Phelan opposes a monolithic notion of neo-liberalism and introduces context-dependent readings and meanings of neo-liberalist ideology. Holborow does not take the view for granted that the English language itself constructs the hegemonic order of global capitalism. The article discusses the way in which language and ideology interconnect but argues in contrast to much research (see Fairclough 2000) that the ideology of neo-liberalism cannot be adequately described as a discourse. Instead, Holborow claims, it is an ideology with specic historical roots and which, as a dominant ideology, makes itself felt in language, although not without contradictions. Through an empirical study of call centers, Holborow concludes that there is not simple relationship between language and ideology (neo-liberalism): language and ideology are not the same and that it is in the dynamic of their interconnection that world views are both made and contested. Mikael Nygards aim is to analyze changing partisan constructions of unemployment security in Finland during the 1990s. He analyzes a corpus of 143 texts comprising partisan statements on un/employment policies by using Perelmans (1971/1958) rhetorical design. The focus lies on justication, argumentation and legitimation: what kinds of rhetorical argumentation were used in order to legitimate these reformulations of policies and political programmes? The results show that partisan constructions of unemployment benets changed during the Mid 90s, indicating that elements of the so-called workfare rhetoric became rooted in

Ruth Wodak

the Finnish political discourse. The political elites also seem to have adopted a narrower interpretation of the concept of social right for unemployed people (see also Wodak and Weiss 2002). Finally, Claudia Zbenovichs paper discusses linguistic forms and pragmatic features of verbal interaction in interviews with Russian politicians in the last decade of the 20th century. This genre of political interview emerged in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. The study oers a comparative analysis of the talk and agonistic interview styles. These two counter-types of political discourse dramatically illustrate some inherent features of the recent Russian culture of communication and illustrate the huge socio-political changes occurring in Russia nowadays. Freedom of opinion and freedom of press are threatened in Russian everyday life and in the public sphere (see interview by the vice-president of Reporters sans frontires, Rubina Mhring with the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaja who was assassinated on the 7th of October 2006; http://oe1.orf.at/highlights/67066. htm2); the linguistic changes indicate some of these salient developments.

Notes
. See Huegli and Luebcke (1991: 282); and also Endruweit and Trommsdor (1989: 281). 2. Interview was downloaded 13th January 2007.

References
Billig, M. 1991, Ideologies and Opinions. London, Sage. Eagleton, T. 2000. Ideologie. Eine Einfhrung. Stuttgart/Metzler. Endruweit, G. and Trommsdor, G. (eds). 1989. Wrterbuch der Soziologie. Stuttgart, Enke. Fairclough, N. 2000. The Language of New Labour. London, Routledge. Fairclough, N. 2003. Analyzing Discourse. London, Routledge. Giddens, A. (ed.). 2001. Sociology. Introductory Readings. London, Polity. Habermas, J. 1968. Erkenntnis und Interesse. Frankfurt/Main, Suhrkamp. Huegli, A. and Luebcke, P. (eds). 1991. Philosophielexikon. Reinbeck, Rowohlt. Kienpointner, M. (ed.). 1999. Ideologies of Politeness. Special Issue Pragmatics, Vol.9/1. Maas, U. 1984. Als der Geist der Gemeinschaft eine Sprache fand. Sprache im Nationalsozialismus. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Mannheim, K. 1995 (8th ed.). Ideologie und Utopie. Frankfurt/Main, Klostermann. Silverstein, M. 1992. The uses and utility of ideology: Some reections. Special Issue Pragmatics 2(3), 311335. Thompson, J.B. 1984. Studies in the Theory of Ideology. Berkeley, UBP. Van Dijk, T.A. 1998. Ideology. London, Sage. Wodak, R. 2006. Images in/and news in a globalised world. In: I. Lassen, J.

Language and Ideology Language in Ideology Strunck, T. Vestergaard (eds). 2006. Mediating Ideology in Text and Image. Ten Critical Studies. Amsterdam: Benjamins (DAPSAC Series), 116. Wodak, R. and Kirsch, F.P. (eds). 1995. Totalitre Sprache Langue de bois Language of Dictatorship. Vienna, Passagen. Wodak, R. and Weiss, G. 2004. Visions, ideologies and utopias in the discursive construction of European identities: Organizing, representing and legitimizing Europe. In: M. Ptz et al. (eds). 2004. Communication Ideologies: Language, Discourse and Social Practice. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 225252. Wodak, R. and Weiss, G. (eds). 2002. Discourses on un/employment. Special Issue TEXT Vol. 2223. Woolard, K. 1992. Language ideology: Issues and approaches. Special Issue Pragmatics 2(3), 235251.