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Who Creates Rituals of Truth Through Language?

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Sharika Tharani

on 10 February 2014

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Transcript of Who Creates Rituals of Truth Through Language?

Foucault's "Régime of Truth"
"Every society has its regime of truth, its general politics of truth: that is, the types of discourse (language) which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true."
So...Who Creates the Ritual of Truth?
Foucault finds that society's power/knowledge sets norms/standards for the way we see the world
But, he wants us to approach what is the "truth" with suspicion
We should question who is giving us information and if it is true in reality, and not just i our defined society

Authority figures and people with positions of power create the ritual of truth
The Government and large corporations
Language as a Window into Emotion
FCC regulation of airwaves to monitor indecency
"This is really, really FUCKING brilliant" - Bono
Not bleeped by NBC
NBD not punished
The word "fucking" did not fall in the context of indecency

Why is it so important that the government regulates what we see as taboo? Negative emotions and corruption
Types of taboo words
Bodily effluvia & organs
Disease, death, infirmity
Disfavored people in groups
Michel Foucault
French Postmodernist
Truth is assumed by the influence of "power/knowledge"
It's a 'standard' that shapes the way we see the world
For him, the word 'discourse' is used for 'language'
Who Creates Rituals of Truth Through Language?
Discussion Question
Do you think that these negative emotions caused by “taboo” words are a result of what the government imposed on us? That is, if the government hadn’t declared certain words as indecent, would they be as powerful in gaining attention?
Inside Job
Foucault’s eyes - the government and the figures of authority, in this case the men of Wall Street, create the ritual of truth
Society perceives these figures as authoritative and truthful

In the case of the derivatives market
Investors were lied to about the strength in investments
Rating agencies were funded by banks to "generously" rate investments
How do we Communicate Under Pressure and what Influences our Ability to Deliver Honest, Clear Messages?
Communicating under pressure is difficult
Example: Glen Hubbard snaps at the interviewer in the final minutes of his interview

How do we do this in PR?
the profession comes with pressure and conflict, and that influences the way we communicate and deliver honest, clear messages
Does the practitioner put aside his or her ethical values for the sake of the organization?
van de Ven, W. (2012). The social reality of truth: Foucault, searle and the role of truth within social reality. (Master's thesis, Tilberg University, Tilburg, Netherlands), Available from Academia.edu. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/1935184/The_Social_Reality_of_Truth._Foucault_Searle_and_the_role_of_truth_within_social_reality

Gaventa, J. (2003). Foucault: Power is everywhere. Retrieved from http://www.powercube.net/other-forms-of-power/foucault-power-is-everywhere/

Pinker, S. (2007, September 28). Why we curse. what the f***?. The New Republic. Retrieved from http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu

Ferguson, C. H., Marrs, A., Beck, C., Bolt, A., Damon, M., Volcker, P. A., Soros, G., ... Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Firm). (2011). Inside job. Culver City, Calif: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The RSA (2007, February 4). Steven Pinker - The Stuff of Thought: Language as a window into human nature. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from
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