Publication details [#68017]

Borba, Rodrigo. 2019. Gendered politics of enmity: language ideologies and social polarisation in Brazil. Gender and Language 13 (4) : 423–448.
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Article in journal
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This paper analyses the role language and gender have played in the construction of animosity among various constituencies during a political crisis in Brazil. To do so, it investigates a language ideological debate about the innovative use of the letter X as a gender morpheme – an inclusive alternative against Portuguese binary grammatical gender system. The data include op-eds, blog posts, news articles and in-depth semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in the debate. The analyses track the emergence of competing metadiscursive and metapragmatic regimes about grammar, gender and politics. On a macro-sociological level, this language ideological work helps shape politics of enmity which characterise the current state of democracy in Brazil and elsewhere. However, it also points to the emergence of situated counterdiscourses of solidarity which help individuals face an otherwise debilitating social context.