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Language and Power

1. What is a Text? Texts, Power and Perspectives

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the relationship between language and power in society, in particular the role of language in creating and maintaining unequal power structures. As we move through the module, we consider: (i) the concept of a text; (ii) the concept of multimodality, and the different modes that might feature in a text; (iii) the concept of intertextuality; (iv) the power of texts; (v) the extent to which texts are both "socially shaped" but also "socially shaping"; (vi) the question of whose texts are most powerful, and the extent to which the answer to that question has been shifted by the advent of social media; (vii) the meaning of the word 'critical' in critical discourse studies


In this course, Professor Christopher Hart (Lancaster University) explores the ways that language can serve to enact power and enable social inequalities and injustices, particularly in relation to social issues such as immigration and political protests. In the first module, we introduce the concept of a text and consider the relationship between language and power in society. In the second module, we begin to explore the models and methods available to critical discourse analysis (CDA) to help deconstruct textual meanings and consider their relations to power and ideology. In the third module, we think about how power and ideology are encoded through some of the grammatical choices a text may present, before turning in the fourth module to consider the impact of a single linguistic feature – metaphor. In the fifth and final module, we think about the construction of power and ideology in other modes of representation, focusing in particular on images.


Prof. Christopher Hart is Professor of Linguistics at Lancaster University. His research draws on insights and methods from cognitive science and critical discourse analysis to investigate the links between language, cognition and social/political action. Some of his recent publications include Discourse, Grammar and Ideology: Functional and Cognitive Perspectives (2014), (as co-editor with D. Kelsey) Discourses of Disorder: Riots, Strikes and Protests in the Media (2018), and (as editor) Cognitive Linguistic Approaches to Text and Discourse: From Poetics to Politics (2019).

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APA style

Hart, C. (2022, April 20). Language and Power - What is a Text? Texts, Power and Perspectives [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hart, Christopher. "Language and Power – What is a Text? Texts, Power and Perspectives." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Apr 2022,

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