LINGUIST List 29.3647

Fri Sep 21 2018

Calls: Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics/China

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

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Date: 20-Sep-2018
From: Martin Gill <>
Subject: Deception in Public Discourse
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Full Title: Deception in Public Discourse

Date: 09-Jun-2019 - 14-Jun-2019
Location: Hong Kong, China
Contact Person: Martin Gill
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics

Call Deadline: 15-Oct-2018

Meeting Description:

(Session of the 16th International Pragmatics Conference)

In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries chose ‘post-truth’ as international word of the year. The choice seemed to confirm a widely shared perception that, just as the free-for-all of social media was marginalizing authoritative news sources, so rational public discourse was being eroded by a tide of popular unreason. This perception was reinforced by the Brexit debate in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US, both characterized by polarized opinions, propagation of ‘fake news’, and often blatant disregard for facts, as well as extensive use of social media and rising levels of incivility.

To some, the currency of concepts such as ‘post-truth’ and ‘alternative facts’ reflects a crisis of confidence in evidence-based discourse, threatening the norms, institutions and discursive practices, as well as the mutual trust, that inform civil society, if not democracy itself (Brennan 2017). According to Enfield (2017), “post-truth discourse may be one of the most pressing problems of our time”. Yet, disinformation for political ends has a long history, and appeals to emotion rather than reason are familiar persuasive techniques. Likewise, distrust of utterances in the public sphere and scepticism about the truthfulness, sincerity and motivation of those making them long predates the ‘post-truth’ era. It is therefore timely to ask: to what extent is the present exceptional in this respect? If it is, what are its characteristics, in what specific forms and modalities are they realized, and in what contexts? How do they differ from those of earlier times?

Call for Papers:

This panel will focus on the nature, prevalence and potential consequences of deception in public discourse, and papers of 20 minutes on any aspect of this theme are invited; ample time for discussion will be included. The focus includes all forms of discourse in the public sphere, both on and off line. Contributors are welcome to adopt any relevant theoretical perspective and methodology, and to focus on theoretical issues or empirical data. Please send abstracts to and/or to the IPrA conference website by October 15 2018.

Deception may include lying, invention, suppression or omission of facts, evasion, failing to tell, euphemism, misnaming, misspeaking, etc., but how clearly can these be distinguished from legitimate forms of political / ideological expression and promotional discourse, or again from satire or parody? To what extent have changing news formats, genres, media and audiences affected these issues? Are there identifiable differences between deceptive and ‘normal’ discourse? Are there features that make a story more or less credible or repeatable? How influential are new forms of publication, audience engagement, and the affordances of online media in promoting deceptive discourse? What multimodal dimensions are relevant? Is the notion of deception itself being redefined? Ultimately, what implications do these phenomena have for the conduct of discourse in the contemporary public sphere?

Page Updated: 21-Sep-2018