Implicit homophobic argument structure
Equal-marriage discourse in The Moral Maze
This article analyses the linguistic and discursive elements which contribute to the production of implicit homophobia. Explicit homophobia has been well documented and strategies for countering discriminatory language have been developed (Baker 2014, Leap 2012). However, our interest here is in documenting implicit homophobia, where homophobic beliefs are only hinted at, are disassociated from the speaker, or are embedded within discursive and argument structures. We decided to analyse the debate in the media around the introduction of equal or same-sex marriage legislation in the UK. We focused our analysis on a series of radio programmes on BBC Radio 4, The Moral Maze (2011–2012), where the issue of same-sex marriage was debated with a team of panelists and invited guests from a range of different organisations. Different perspectives on same-sex marriage were discussed, in a seemingly objective and dispassionate way, where the interactants distanced themselves from homophobic beliefs and yet implicitly subscribed to homophobia. We used an analysis drawing on argumentation structure (Fairclough & Fairclough 2012) and through focusing on stance, recontextualisation, imaginaries, and metaphor, we developed an analysis which made the way that implicit homophobia works more visible. In this way, we hope to foreground implicit homophobia, and develop a linguistic and discursive ‘toolkit’ which will enable it to be challenged and countered.
Keywords: same-sex marriage, imaginaries, metaphor, homophobia, argumentation, stance, recontextualisation
Published online: 30 March 2015
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