The female political leader
A study of gender-identity in the case of Margaret Thatcher
This work examines the linguistic construction of gender identity in the discourse of Margaret Thatcher. Identity is defined in the terms of Bucholtz and Hall (2005) as an ‘emergent’ phenomenon, depending on local contexts of interaction. In analysing the contributions by media figures to processes of identity construction recourse is made to the theories of Turner and Oakes (e.g. 1989) in the field of social identity theory. Interviewers’ questions are examined for what they reveal about identity presuppositions. Mrs Thatcher at times plays along with these presuppositions, ignores them, or objects to them. Her answers tell us something about the identity she wishes to construct. The work focuses on Thatcher’s first major political breakthrough; her conquest of the Conservative leadership in 1975. The toolkit for examining identity in discourse proposed by Bucholtz and Hall (2005) is adopted, and Corpus Linguistics and the Appraisal Framework of Martin and White (2005) are used in support of the selected tools.
Keywords: Identity inferences, self-categorization theory, political discourse analysis, Evaluation, Appraisal Framework, gender identity, social stereotype
Published online: 15 July 2010
Antaki, Charles and Widdicombe, Sue
Bucholtz, Mary & Hall, Kira
Chilton, Paul & Schäffner, Christina
Fairclough, Norman & Wodak, Ruth
Halmari, Helena & Virtanen, Tuija
Leyens, Jacques-Philippe, Désert, Michel, Croizet, Jean-Claude, Darcis, Catherine
Martin, James R. & White, Peter R.R.
Oakes, Penelope J., Haslam, Alexander, Turner, John C.
O’Brien, Laurie, T., Kinias, Zoe, Major, Brenda
Turner, J.C., and Oakes, P.J.
Turner, J.C., Hogg, M.A.
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