Article published in:Singing, Speaking and Writing Politics: South African political discourses
Edited by Mirjana N. Dedaić
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 65] 2015
► pp. 221–246
Singing the language of struggle, past and present
The chapter analyses the language of political struggle as articulated in the songs of the liberation movement in South Africa. Using critical discourse analysis and ‘history from below’ (NECC, 1987), it traces the discourses reflected in liberation struggle songs from the 1980s through to the present day. Unlike previous analyses of the use of song, which focus on its mobilising and unifying function, this chapter argues that song is used to make tactical political interventions, and can play a divisive role. Secondly, the chapter argues that in contrast to analyses which emphasise racial identity in past and present discourses, the dominant discourses in the past were populist and militarist, and that current songs show the emergence of a clear class discourse.
Keywords: liberation movement, political struggle, songs, South Africa
Published online: 30 October 2015
Cited by 1 other publications
Walker, Gavin Robert
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