Topic: The construction of Otherness in Ireland
In line with the general consensus that interdisciplinarity contributes towards understanding the complexities of phenomena, this project is designed to examine, from various perspectives, the old and new discourses generated in a changing society such as Ireland, which has recently witnessed spectacular transformations. In the last decade or so, the condition of some minorities has markedly improved; that is the case, for instance, of women, who have started holding down power positions, and homosexuals, who, after persecution, are beginning to enjoy equal legal status like the rest of Irish citizens. Similarly, the economic boom and the subsequent social turmoil have encouraged alternate notions of Irishness based on Ireland's contemporary heterogeneity, which would have been unthinkable half a century ago. This is mainly derived from the present growing migrant intake, leading to the coexistence of white Catholic Irish descendants with other ethnicities and religious backgrounds in a now multicultural society. Furthermore, the impact of technology on education or business has shaped the Republic to such an extent that there remains less of the traditional rural nation the country has been renowned for. Lastly, in an almost rigid political landscape, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gale and Labour have given space to other parties with new agendas and persuasions demanding renovated ways of selling their ideas to the electorate. In this context, images of less privileged groups are continually generated; in some cases, these are moulded as a result of prejudice towards them and for fear of those who are different. Their demonisation, as represented, for example, through discourse in the media, is one of the consequences of the new social panorama in Ireland. With things the way they are, there is considerable interest in scrutinising the (discriminatory) viewpoints held by a number of individuals regarding Muslims, homosexuals, immigrants, prostitutes, the poor, and the Travellers, to mention but a few. The latter justifies a joint effort by a multidisciplinary team, which must face the challenge posed by the texts under analysis. The corpus will mainly consist of films, documentaries, news articles, political speeches and debates produced over the last fourteen years, as well as posters, videos, tweets and other multimodal materials used in the most recent election campaigns. These may reveal underlying ideologies present in both verbal and non-verbal communication. For our purposes, we will rely on corpus-based CDA (Baker, Gabrielatos and McEnery 2013), social actors analysis (van Leeuwen 2008), multimedia content analysis (Divakaran 2009), or appraisal theory (Martin and White 2005). Other approaches will be welcome, though. One of the aims will be to detect how evaluative language can reflect the mentality ingrained in this particular society. Attention will also be paid to the construal of candidates' public personae as well as that of the subjects of their discursive practices. Finally, by focusing on different modes of filmic, and studying metaphorical, modality or transitivity patterns, certain strategies of domination and subordination may be uncovered that are a manifestation of the Irish reality at this moment in time.
Areas of analysis:
Sociolinguistics, anthropology, multimodality, sociology, musicology, cultural studies, discourse analysis, political communication.
Year of publication
Dr E. Hidalgo Tenorio