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Ideology: an "extropic" account

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Annabelle Lukin

on 3 December 2016

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Transcript of Ideology: an "extropic" account

- the three mainsprings of human existence - the semiotic, the social and the mental
Theories about theories
Exotropic theories
Evolution of a concept
Hasan on ideology
Linguists, language and ideology (Lukin forthcoming)
Ideology: an "exotropic" account from
Hasan's linguistics

Endotropic theories
"... are centred onto their own object of study, isolating it from all else. The phenomena they attempt to describe are viewed as if they were self-generating, self-fertilising, self-renewing; they are thus autogamous with respect to their central problematic ... " (Hasan 2005: "Society, language and mind: the metadialogism of Basil Bernstein’s theory")
A [better] test for the validity of an approach to language would lie in how far the approach is able to account for the working of ideology by relating it to the power of language (Hasan 1988/2009 "Language in the processes of socialization")
" ... an exotropic theory is not confined within the bounds of its object of study. Rather, it is cosmoramic, typically embedding its central problematic in a context, where the processes of its maintenance and change originate in its interaction with other universes of experience ... "
... the object of study in an exotropic theory is a component of what Lemke (1984; 1993) calls a ‘dynamic open system’, changing and being changed by its reciprocal engagement with the other components of the larger system. History is clearly not a problem for such theories: the genesis, fertilisation and change in the object of study are accounted for to a large extent by reference to its relation with the different components of the dynamic open system. As a consequence of this constant exchange, the object of study in exotropic theories appears to be always on the move, presenting a different facet with every change in the observer’s vantage point.
Exotropic theories
It is not that the exotropic theory is a theory of everything; rather it places its object of study in relation to the phenomena which though relevant are by definition different in kind ...
Exotropic theories
Overview of my talk
1. Linguistics and the study of ideology.
2. What is an "exotropic theory"?
3. Ideology in Hasan's systemic functional linguistics.
4. Ideologies of "war".
1. 1986. The ontogenesis of ideology: an interpretation of mother child talk.
2. 1987. Reading Picture Reading: a study in ideology and inference.
3. 2004. The world in words: semiotic mediation, tenor and ideology.
4. 2003. Globalization, literacy and ideology.
"Even to imply that ideology, through however many layers of the 'onion' of culture can finally be seen as language is at once claiming too much and saying too little .... (Hasan 1986/2005. "The ontogenesis of ideology".)
The maintenance of ideology is a multimodal affair
Language may presuppose ideology, but, both for its genesis and its sustenance, ideology needs more than language.
The world in words: Vygotsky and Bernstein
The definition of self is forged in interaction with others
Interaction varies by social positioning because 'orders of relevance' - aka coding orientation - varies by social positioning.
Hasan identified "two clusters of semantic features" in her data. Each has a "nucleus" (e.g. [prefaced] or [assumptive] which "acts as a the pivot, attracting other semantic features".
The clustering together of 'sympathetic' elements around one nucleus is not unique to the semantic level. At the lexicogrammatical level, strong lexical nodes act as a 'magnet' for specific collocates. The node's inner nature supports predictions about what will go with what.
It seems reasonable to suggest that maternal ways of asking and answering questions are significant in positioning children as discursive partners. In the dominating hap group children are given greater discretion, treated as partners – individuals with equal rights. These perceptions become a part of their mental disposition, setting up expectations of discursive rights and obligations: in chapters 5 and 10 I have referred to the mental disposition thus produced as
individuated informativeness.
In the dominated lap group, the maternal discourse positions children as not yet mature, therefore needing supervision. It would be in accordance with this view to give them less discretion: they are not so much equal partners in discourse as needing to be guided into appropriate forms of behaviour considered legitimate by the mother. At the same time, with the assumption of an intuitive knowledge of the other’s mental map, there is an absence of social distance between them, which encourages a disposition of personal trust. Interpersonal relations thus assume greater significance than ‘objective’ information, which is so highly valued in the life of the privileged.
So far as speakers are concerned, the very presence of formative motifs in their own discourse may never rise to the level of awareness. In their habitual use of the clusters of semantic features speakers’ are not aware of doing anything special, extraordinary or noteworthy any more than they are aware of the patterns of wording relevant to the ‘configurative rapport’ when they use expressions such as three days and a stick of butter (cf. Whorf 1956): all they are doing is, simply speaking their social location, and their ideological stance – their unselfconscious, everyday casual discourse is a ‘natural’ expression of who they are, what their relation to the interactant is, and what they consider relevant. 2004/2009: 450
Speakers simply speaking their social location
orientated to a specific ideology, in process,
"What is happening is not so much the distortion of reality, but very probably a semiotic struggle to control the very definition of reality." Hasan 2003: 437
a process of "resemanticization"
"If meanings of long-established linguistic patterns are being 'hijacked' in order to disarm objections by those to who the locution is address, the interesting question is: how is this achieved?" (Hasan 2003: 438)
Features of lexis
- metafunctional nature of lexis - not just experiential but interpersonal
- lexis not just denotational, but connotational
- meaning is elastic
e.g. "Mona's husband is not a man"
- underlying a lexical item such as man is a configuration of meanings some of which (typically group (1)) lie on the surface of our awareness; others (typically group (s)) remain relatively submerged ... they have the status of 'crypotype' (Whorf 1956)
- lexis inherently relational; thus, the option of 'hyponymy as a resource for withholding information"
Your ideology about the nature of language determines how you relate language to ideology
Lukin, forthcoming. Language, linguistics and ideology: a systemic-functional approach. Beijing: Springer.
"I have not forgotten your desire to write about ideology -- so I do wish you would get on to it." (21/10/14)
Why was Volume 4 still unfinished when Ruqaiya passed away?
This paper was unfinished, at 52, 815 words, including its 110 footnotes.
Thanks to her editor, who got her this far.
What is "war"?
An example of ideology at work
"Welcome to a special edition of ABC news. The Second Gulf War has begun."
What does "war" mean?
"colonial, unwarranted, unjustified criminal aggression"
The UN definition of "aggression"?
ABC TV news 20/03/03-02/04/03
It took the UN 16 years to come up with this definition.
In fact it had been trying since soon after WW II, so really it took well over 20 years.
"action" "operations"
LUKIN, A. 2013. The meanings of "war": from lexis to context. Journal of Language and Politics. 12:3. pp 424-444.

"... the illusion of the powerlessness of language in construing reality, quite paradoxically, becomes the greatest source of its power: it becomes the most powerful instrument for the maintenance of ideology ...". (Hasan. 1988/2009. "Language in the processes of socialization".)

Hasan: Ideology seen in relation to
language, society, consciousness
This is my first visit to China
My preparations:
I read up on your customs
I brushed up on Chinese history
I bought something to wear to dinner!
"In this chapter, I hope to present a radically different view of the relations of the interactants to the text in its context."

During the first part of life, the brain and mind are highly plastic, require sensory input to grow and develop, and shape themselves to the major recurring features of their environments. During these years, individuals have little ability to act on or alter the environment, but are easily altered by it. By early adulthood, the mind and brain have elaborately developed structures and a diminished ability to change those structures. The individual is now able to act on and alter the environment, and much of that activity is devoted to making the environment conform to the established structures (Wexler 2006: 5).
Wexler, B. E. (2006). Brain and Culture: Neurobiology, Ideology, and Social Change. Cambridge, MASS: MIT Press.
The meanings of "in" and "on"
Where did you get the contents of your mind?
Mind made through "semiotic mediation" = Lev Vygotsky
Mind is "a created, creating creation" (Hasan, from her final paper on Tenor)
Semiotic mediation is both visible and invisible [Professor Williams paper at this sympsium]

Brain and Culture: Neurobiology, Ideology and
Social Change
"Who are you? What are you doing here? – Why don’t you go and sit down somewhere? Oh, is there somewhere to sit? – It took me nearly a whole year to get interested in his work through joint seminars, meetings etc."
Marx, Giddens, Habermas, Douglas, Foucault, Durkheim ... et al
"By a happy chance, I arrived in Edinburgh where SFL was being developed by a group of scholars under the leadership of Michael Halliday – a linguistics that is THE social-semiotic theory of this age"
What is society? How is society organized/structured?
A linguistics that is THE social semiotic of this age
is ideological"
is neutral"
Grammar is an ideological interpretant built into language

(Halliday, in "Language and the Order of Nature". 1987/2003: 135)
" ... but one thing that language as power is not is ‘wilful’. To say that the power of language is in its potential, is to say that it is capable of being used as an infinite resource (Halliday 2001); but this potential is
ideologically neutral
, which follows logically from the fact that it has to satisfy the needs of diverse ideologies: it has neither the will to exploit, nor to support, nor does it deceive. (Hasan 2003/2011. "Globalization, literacy and ideology".)
But language is not "wilful"
If we argue that the reality constructed by the background phenomena of a language – its automatised formal patterns – is a reality specific to that language and not necessarily an account of ‘how things really are’, then all speakers of a language may be said to subscribe to the same ideology at some level of consciousness, in the specific sense of seeing something as inevitably so. I would suggest that this kind of general ‘agreement’ represents an infrastructure whose presence is a sine qua non for the construction of more specific ideolo- gies, e.g. that of woman’s work. (Hasan. 1987/2005. "The ontogenesis of ideology".)
"We alone are responsible for harnessing the language’s semiotic energy in our own chosen ways. If there is guilt or blame, it does not attach to language as potential; it attaches to some section of some speakers somewhere, who are the actualizers of this potential; and it is my belief that ignorance of intention or effect is no excuse".
(Hasan, 2003. Globalization, literacy and ideology)
The wilfullness is entirely
that of speakers
"Whorf showed quite clearly that even at the most general level of analysis the characterisation of the ideology cannot be achieved by the examination of isolated lexicogrammatical patterns. He suggest that for such an examination we need the concept of "configurative rapport" .
(Hasan. 1987/2005. "The ontogenesis of ideology".
Ideology and realization
"there is a continuity from the living of life right down to the morpheme" (Hasan 1996)
goal-directedness, purposeful, action
for a higher principle
Ideology and metafunction
Series edited by Professors Huang Guowen and Chang Chenguang.
It is the task of linguistics to make visible the covert patterns of ideology in text.
And yet no language, and no variety of a language, is ineluctably tied to any one subculture, or to any one ideology or any one construction of reality. There is no semiotic construal that cannot be deconstrued. And here the most significant fact is that, whenever we deconstruct a text or critically analyse a discourse or unpack a latent ideology, we are not only using grammatics (that is, a theory of grammar) with which to do so; we are also using grammar. ... The fact that our grammar enables us to deconstrue the (non-neutral) grammars of commonsense or uncommonsense modes of discourse is the proof that, in the last resort, this grammar is neutral. But it takes work - grammatical energy to keep it that way. So we, who are grammarians, cannot afford to be neutral.
(Halliday, "Is the grammar neutral? Is the grammarian neutral?" 2001/2003: 286)
"Grammarians cannot afford to be neutral"
Ideology is prosodic
And so it is invisible.
March 20th -2nd April 2003
two parties to the conflict;
Wider corpus search:
22, 000 words ABC TV current affaris
80, 000 words radio ABC current affairs
64, 000 words of press briefings by ADF
120, 000 words of press conferences in Doha
60, 000 words corpus of news reports The Jakarta Post
12, 000 word corpus of news reports from The China Daily
Coalition bombing and invasion of Iraq not seen as "violence'
It is an exotropic theory
Thank you!
Full transcript