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HENK0391AU English - Free topic 3:
Meaning in Mind and Society
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice
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Study board of English, Germanic and Romance
Department of English, Germanic and Romance
Peter Harder (6-6e67786a6b78466e7b7334717b346a71)
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Meaning is the central concept in the humanities, and the most
basic property of language. From the point of view of the
individual language user, meaning comes across as a mental or
cognitive phenomenon. But it is also a social fact, i.e.
something that involves human groups and institutional practices,
including things like general elections: understanding involves
meaning assignment, collective as well as individual.
In the past generation, meaning has been most dynamically
explored as part of cognitive science, whose goal was a complete
description of the powers of the human mind, uniting psychologists,
philosophers, linguists and other disciplines in an umbrella
discipline dedicated to this ambitious goal. In linguistics, a key
framework is Cognitive Linguistics with George Lakoff, Leonard
Talmy and Ronald Langacker as main figures. But cognitive science
has now progressed so far that it is beginning to face issues
with social dimensions, and this calls for a theory that includes
the relations between meaning as a property of the mind and meaning
as a dimension of social life.
From a critical perspective, meaning in society is typically
studied with power and social construction as
central concepts, based on a poststructural approach that
understands human subjects as victims of oppression and
manipulation (Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu are key figures
in this approach). In the past generation, the critical approach
has been modified by a postmodern tendency, stressing the
individuals’ options for imposing their own social constructions on
reality: since what masquerades as reality is just a social
construction, my own constructions (e.g. of gender roles and
personal identity) are just as valid.
The course addresses these themes and suggests an approach that
captures the dynamic interplay between individual and collective
forces, based on a theory of cultural evolution and ‘niche
construction’. Among examples of meaning in social space are the
concept of ‘securitization’, as explored in the Copenhagen School
of international relations, the issue of ethnic and national
identity, the role of norms for social life, and the role of
key cultural concepts as sources of ‘selection pressure’ shaping
the lives of individuals living in a cultural niche. Course
materials include Peter Harder Meaning in Mind and Society
(price: around 600 kr when purchased via the teacher) and a course
P.Harder. 2010. Meaning in Mind and Society. Berlin: de
Some relevant references:
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1991. Language and Symbolic Power.
Cambridge: Polity Press
Chilton, Paul. 1996. Security Metaphors. Cold War Discourse
from Containment to Common House. New York etc: Peter
Chilton, Paul. 2004. Analysing Political Discourse.
Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.
De Cillia, Rudolf, Martin Reisigl and Ruth Wodak.1999.
The discursive construction of national identities. Discourse and
Society 10, 2, 149-173.
Dirven, René, Bruce Hawkins and Esra Sandikcioglu (eds.). 2001.
Language and Ideology. Vol. I. Theoretical cognitive
approaches. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Croft, William.A. 2009. Toward a Social Cognitive Linguistics.
New Directions in Cognitive Linguistics, ed. by Vyvyan
Evans and Stephanie Pourcel. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John
Dirven, René, Roslyn Frank and Cornelia Ilie (eds.) 2001.
Language and Ideology. Vol. II. Descriptive cognitive
approaches. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Evans, Vyvyan. 2009. How Words Mean. Oxford: Oxford University
Evans, Vyvyan and Melanie Green. (2006). Cognitive
Linguistics. An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University
Geeraerts, Dirk.2003: Decontextualizing and Recontextualiing
Tendencies in 20th Century Linguistics and Literary Theory. In
Ewald Mengel, Hans-Jörg Schmied & Michael Steppat (eds.)
Anglistentag 2002 Bayreuth, 369-379. Trier:
Geeraerts, Dirk.2003. Cultural models of linguistic
standardization. In Cognitive Models in Language and Thought.
Ideology, Metaphors and Meaning, ed. by René Dirven, Roslyn
Frank, and Martin Pütz,. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Geeraerts, Dirk and Stefan Grondelaers. 1995. Looking back at
anger. Cultural traditions and metaphorical patterns. In Language
and the Construal of the World. Ed. by John Taylor and Robert E.
Mac Laury 153-180. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Gibbs, Raymond W. 1999. Taking Metaphor
Out of our Heads and Putting It Into the Cultural World, in Gibbs,
R.W and G.J. Steen (eds.), 145-166
Gibbs, Raymond W. & Gerard J. Steen (eds.).1999. Metaphor
in Cognitive Linguistics. (=Current Issues in Linguistic Theory
175) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
Goldberg, Adele. 2006. Constructions at work. The nature of
generalizations in language. Oxford: Oxford University
Goddard, Cliff. 2006. “Lift your game Martina!”: deadpan
jocular irony and the ethnopragmatics of Australian English.
Chapter 3 in Goddard (ed.) 2006.
Goddard, Cliff (ed.). 2006. Ethnopragmatics. Understanding
Discourse in a Cultural Context. (Applications of Cognitive
Linguistics 3). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Hawkins. Bruce. 1997. The Social Dimension of a Cognitive
Grammar, in Liebert, Redeker and Waugh (eds.) 21-36.
Hutton, Christopher. 2001. Cultural and Conceptual Relativism,
Universalism and the Politics of Linguistics. Dilemmas of a
would-be progressive linguistics. In Dirven, Hawkins &
Sandikcioglu (eds.), 277-296.
Peter E. Jones.2001. Cognitive Linguistics and the Marxist
Approach to Ideology In Dirven, Hawkins & Sandikcioglu (eds.),
Kristiansen, Gitte and Rene Dirven (eds). 2008. Cognitive
Sociolinguistics. Language Variation, Cultural Models, Social
Systems. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Kristiansen, Gitte & Dirk Geeraerts. 2007. On
non-reductionist intercultural pragmatics and methodological
procedure. In Explorations in Pragmatics. Linguistic, Cognitive
and Intercultural Aspects, ed. By Istvan Kecskes &
Laurence R. Horn. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 257-286.
Kristiansen, Gitte, Michel Achard, Rene Dirven, and Francisco
J, Ruiz de Mendoza Ibàñez (eds.) 2006. Cognitive Linguistics:
Current Applications and Future Perspectives. Berlin: Mouton
Kronenfeld, David. 2008. Culture, Society, and Cognition.
Collective Goals, Values, Action and Knowledge. (Mouton Series
in Pragmatics 3). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Kövecses, Zoltan 1999. Metaphor: Does it constitute or reflect
cultural models?, In Gibbs, Raymond W. & Gerard J. Steen
Lakoff, George. 2008. The Political Mind. Why You Can’t
Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an
18th-Century Brain. London: Viking
Langacker, Ronald W. 1987. Foundations of Cognitive
Grammar, vol.1: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford
Langacker, Ronald W. 1990 Concept, Image, and Symbol:
The Cognitive Basis of Grammar. Berlin: Mouton de
Langacker, Ronald W 1991. Foundations of Cognitive
Grammar , vol.2: Descriptive Applications. Stanford: Stanford
Langacker, R.W. 1999. Assessing the cognitive linguistic
enterprise. In Th. Janssen and G. Redeker. (eds.) 13-59.
Langacker, Ronald W. 2002. Discourse in Cognitive Grammar.
Cognitive Linguistics 12, 2, 143-188.
Liebert, Wolf-Andreas, Gisela Redeker and Linda Waugh (eds.).
1997. Discourse and Perspective in Cognitive Linguistics.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Morgan, Pamela. 2001. The Semantics of an Impeachment. Meanings
and Models in a Political Conflict, in Dirven , Frank and Ilie
Nerlich, Brigitte. 2004. Risk, Blame and Culture:
Foot and Mouth Disease and the Debate about Cheap Food.
The Politics of Food, ed. by Marianne Elisabeth Lien &
Brigitte Nerlich. Oxford: Berg.39-57.
Rohrer, Tim: Even the interface is for sale: Metaphors, Visual
Blends and the Hidden Ideology of the Internet, in Dirven, Frank
and Ilie (eds.), Language and Ideology Vol II,
Urban, Nancy. 2008. The business model of the university:
Sources and consequences of its construal. In Kristiansen and
Dirven (eds.). 449-482.
Verhagen, Arie 2002. From parts to wholes and back again.
Cognitive Linguistics 13,4. 403-439.