Institutionalized power determines the way we speak and guides the conversations that we have. Through language, power makes itself known via state messaging and sets the tone for social interactions with the use of predetermined wording and phrases. In this unit, students will study examples of how state power is exerted through speech and written language. They will have a chance to consider how the media, police, and military forces use language to maintain their control over large populations.
Collins, James. 2017. “Dilemmas of Race, Register, and Inequality in South Africa.” Language in Society 46 (1): 39–56.
McElhinny, Bonnie. 2001. “See No Evil, Speak No Evil: White Police Officers’ Arguments Around Race and Affirmative Action.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11 (1): 65–78.
Podcast Episode: Radiolab’s “Words That Change the World”
Eshe Lewis (2020)