Publication details [#1228]

Koller, Veronika. 2013. Constructing (non-)normative identities in written lesbian discourse: A diachronic study. Discourse & Society 24 (5) : 572–589. 18 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Thousand Oaks: SAGE


Based on discourse theory, queer theory , and social psychology, this article explores how (non-)normative in-group representations are constructed in two texts written from a lesbian subject position, one in 1970 (text A) and the other in 2010 (text B). The purpose of the analysis is to understand how in- and out-groups are constructed, how they are demarcated from each other, and how they are presented as normative/non-normative. As a first step, strategies of nomination and predication are identified, including the use of metaphor. Based on this text analysis, the results are then interpreted and explained in the next step. As far as metaphors are concerned, text A uses the WAR metaphor in the demarcation of groups, and metaphoric force dynamic expressions are used to make the tension with society seem natural and connected to the laws of physics. Development is understood in terms of the JOURNEY metaphor in both texts, but in text B the focus is on the development of the in-group rather than the process through which an individual becomes a member of it. Based on previous research in social cognition, the in-group is expected to be given a complex representation, be clearly demarcated from an out-group, and valued positively in comparison to it. The results confirm the demarcation between groups in both texts, but the in-groups is seen as more positive and less complex in text A, while in text B it is less positive and more varied. These differences are explained in relation to the social and political context in which they were written.