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263When addressed to members of the same group, however, such under-
standing may be very different. For instance, when whites speak about minorities to other whites (or men about women to other men), the enact- ment of white group dominance is not direct, as is the case when whites speak with blacks. The point now is that discourse properties must be geared towards the production or activation of an episodic mental model about ethnic minorities, in such a way that this model will in turn confirm negative attitudes and ideologies in the audience. Once established, such negative social representations may in turn be used in the formation of models that monitor discriminatory acts (including discourse, as shown above: Van Dijk, 1987a). We have seen that this formation of general attitudes is a process we know very little about. We assumed that such attitudes consist of general opinions (like the racist opinion: Blacks are less motivated to take a job than whites as part of a more general negative attitude about blacks). These may be acquired more or less directly. namely by generalized state- ments in discourse. They may also be acquired indirectly. namely after generalization and decontextualization of one or more models in which unmotivated blacks are being represented, as would be the case in biased storytelling or news reports. What we need to know, more generally, then, is how discourse structures affect the structures and contents of models, or the generalization process linking models with attitudes, in such a way that social representations are being formed that sustain dominance. Although we need to know much more about the details of discourse- based attitude formation and change and about mode attitude relations, we may speculate about some of the overall features of these properties of discourse and social cognition. Thus, we have seen that the reproductionof dominance in contemporary societies often requires justification or legiti- mation: it is just . necessary or natural that we have privileged accessto valuable social resources. Another strategy of the reproduction of domi- nance is that of denial: there is no dominance, all people in our societyare equal, and have equal access to social resources. Such socio-cognitive strategies will also appear in discourse, e.g. in justifications and denials of inequality. The justification of inequality involves two complementary strategies, namely the positive representation of the own group, and the negative representation of the Others. This is also what we find in white discourses about ethnic minorities. Arguments, stories, semantic moves and other structures of such discourse consistently. and sometimes subtly, have such implications, for instance in everyday conversations, political discourse, textbooks or news reports (Van Dijk, 1987a. 1991. 1993a). Thus, models are being expressed and persuasively conveyed that contrast us withTHEM, e.g. by emphasizing our tolerance, help or sympathy, and by focusing on negative social or cultural differences, deviance or threats attributed to them . If such polarized models are consistent with negative attitudes or ideologies, they may be used to sustain existing attitudes or form new negative attitudes. Oneofthe strategic ways to makesure that such gener-
(e) Structural emphasis of their negative actions.g. (d) Story telling: telling above negative events as personally experienced. mentioning negative agents in prominent. e.DISCOURSE & SOCIETY 264 alizations are made is to emphasize that the current model is typical and not incidental or exceptional. or positive ones of us. structures may be inter- . summaries. (c) Lexical style: choice of words that imply negative (or positive) evaluations.g. euphemisms. and that the circumstances do not allow alternative interpretations of the deviant actions of the Others.g. leads. or other properties of text schemata (e. thus other persuasive moves are also needed. (b) Rhetorical figures: hyperbolic enhancement of their negative actions and our positive actions. Given these assumptions about the formation of models of events and attitude schemata in which us andTHEM are thus represented. we need to examine in more detail which discourse structures are conducive to such processes. understatements of our negative actions. denials. However. These and many other. transactivitystructures of sentence syntax (e. such as the following: (a) Argumentation: the negative evaluation follows from the facts . in headlines. topical position). such statements also need to be credible. Speakers or writers will therefore tend to emphasize that this is always like that . sources or experts. (f) Quoting credible witnesses. sometimes very subtle.g. giving plausible details above negative features of the events. and that the negative actions of the Others cannot be explained or excused. We have seen that the most obvious case is simply semantic content : statements that directly entail negative evaluations ofTHEM. those of news reports). e. in news reports. that we are not used to that .
is to pay extensive attention to their alleged threat to the interests and privileges of the dominant group: we will get less (or worse) work. political views. Depending on the targets of such discursive marginalization of dominated groups. language. Recall that apart from the various semantic or other moves used in such discourse. such as education. like free access to the communicative situation. interest-bound aims and values of white dominant group ideologies that are inconsistent with such opinions. housing and employment. One of the ways to discredit powerless groups. welfare abuse. andthey are even favoured . and hence also different ways of discursive reproduction. we will generally expect the discourse to focus on the persuasive marginalization of the Other by manipulation of event models and the generalized negative attitudes . And by denying or mitigating racism. The liberal elites especially may also apply humanitarian norms and values to argue against them . class. for instance. there are few general.. In other words. In ethnic or racial affairs. In socioeconomic situations of white poverty or insecurity in is of course easy to persuasively communicate such propositions. crime. Although each form of dominance has its own historical. In discourse understanding andreproduction by the (dominant) audience itself. as we have examined above: breaches of discourse rules that presuppose equality. or the white media or other eliteswill find a minority representative who agrees with their position. Such a strategy is conducive to the forrnationof models thatfeaturesuch well-known propositions as We are the DISCOURSE & SOCIETY 265 real victims . world region or any other criterion by which groups may be differentiated and oppressed or marginalized.g. or welfare because of them . positive discrimination . politeness. notably when addressed to members of dominated groups. denial of white racism and discrimination. they are able to marginalize those who claim the opposite. for instance. By seemingly emphasizing equality for all .presentation. caste. by special attention or affirmative action. and a systematic association of ethnic minorities with problematic cultural differences at best. We are being discriminated against. illegal work. this may involve. and sometimes such attributions are much more subtle. e. and so on. religion. this will bemost often the case through the direct enactment of power abuse. and being a burden of all social resources. therefore. 1993a). Sometimes this will happen in a blatant and overt way.g. housing. and more likely with illegal immigration and residence. and to have them acceptedas general opinions that will be part of more general negative attitudes about ethnic minorities. not they . elites may thus discredit affirmative action programmes or employment schemes.preted as managing the processes of understanding in such a way that preferred models are being built by the hearers/readers. typically so in more liberal elite discourse(Van Dijk. In production of discourse. social. e. we may thus generally expect the structures and strategies of dominant talk to focus on various forms of positive self-presentation and negative other. free topic selection and turntaking. we may assume that many of the observations made above also hold for the domains of gender.political and cultural properties.education. the very access to such discourse is a crucial condition of power and counter-power: minorities or other dominated groups simply will hardly be allowed to provide a totally different version of thefacts .
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