The pragmatics of symbolic distance crossing

Piotr Cap | University of Lodz
ISBN 9789027256379 | EUR 90.00 | USD 135.00
ISBN 9789027271556 | EUR 90.00 | USD 135.00
This book proposes a new theory (“proximization theory”) in the area of political/public legitimization discourse. Located at the intersection of Pragmatics, Cognitive Linguistics and critical approaches, the theory holds that legitimization of broadly consequential political/public policies, such as pre-emptive interventionist campaigns, is best accomplished by forced construals of virtual external threats encroaching upon the speaker and her audience’s home territory. The construals, which proceed along spatial, temporal and axiological lines, are forced by strategic deployment of lexico-grammatical choices drawn from the three domains. This proposal is illustrated primarily in the in-depth analysis of the 2001-2010 US discourse of the War-on-Terror, and secondarily in a number of pilot studies pointing to a wide range of further applications (environmental discourse, health communication, cyber-threat discourse, political party-representation). The theory and the empirical focus of the book will appeal to researchers working on interdisciplinary projects in Pragmatics, Semantics, Cognitive Linguistics, Critical Discourse Studies, as well as Journalism and Media Studies.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 232]  2013.  ix, 220 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Piotr Cap’s book is a remarkable synthesis of strands of thought that have been emerging in linguistics and discourse analysis over the past decade or so. In the basic elements of our thought and language we are spatial creatures. Cap draws on work in Cognitive Linguistics that has shown the fundamental importance of spatial awareness and takes us into a territory that is of immediate concern in the globalised era where borders and distance dissolve and are re-imagined. His achievement is to develop a theoretical framework that reveals the many ways in which the imagining of closeness and remoteness can be manipulated in the political sphere and bound up with fear, security and conflict. This is a book that spans and combines the cognitive with the pragmatic, the theoretical and the practical. His theory demonstrates how the principle of metaphor transports our spatial experience of the near and the far into the mental dimensions of time, history, values and ideologies. Not only does it present proximization theory in more detail and with clarity than ever, it demonstrates how the theory can be applied to one of the dominant discourses of our age, that of anti-terrorism and anti-migration. In its final chapter the book points the way to further explorations in the space of public discourse, in particular those discourses dealing with the urgent issues of the environment, technology and health.
We have here a dynamic model and methodology to expand our critical understanding of the ever changing space we build for ourselves and in which we live.”
“The author succeeds in drawing attention that the STA model can be used successfully to analyse discourses in other domains. The book will appeal to researchers involved in interdisciplinary projects in Pragmatics, Cognitive Linguistics, Critical Discourse Studies as well as to professionals such as journalists or media experts.”
“The book makes an outstanding theoretic entry into the space of legitimization discourse through an enriched concept of proximization. Its skillful crafting of the constituents of STA and its clinical finesse in the demonstration of spatial, temporal and axiological proximizations in the US terrorist discourse and beyond bear a testimony to Cap’s consistently dexterous pursuit of proximization and legitimization, putting a stamp of professional authority on the text. It is therefore commended to all applied linguists, political scientists, psychologists, diplomats and sociologists who seek an exploration into the strategic management of threatening antagonism and legitimization of political, diplomatic and military action.”
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Subjects & Metadata


BIC Subject: CFG – Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2013019089 | Marc record