Article published in:Thema's en trends in de sociolinguïstiek 3
[Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen 62] 1999
► pp. 57–71
Media Language and Representations of Identity
The use of language in the mass media is an act of identity. The media offer us representations of the identities of groups and individuals, and are even implicated in the very nature of contemporary identity. Drawing on the work of the British socio-logist Anthony Giddens on late modernity, this paper examines four aspects of identity in contemporary society, and illustrates and evidences them by analysis of New Zealand television advertisements. Firstly, human identity in the late modern age is 'reflexive', by which the media and their language reflect back images of the self. Secondly, modern identity is at least in part a 'narrative of the self, and many advertisements frame their appeal as aspects of personal biographies, including in particular personal choices and the lifestyle which constitutes them. Thirdly, the media are the crucial technologies in the re-organisation of time and place in the modern wodd, and offer a wodd for consumption. Lastly, the media are the means by which the global reaches into the local, and the local can be disseminated to the rest of the globe. These characteristics are manifested and identifiable across all levels of language.
Published online: 24 March 2014