Complicity in Discourse and Practice
It is commonplace to say that we are living in troubled times. Liberal democracy is in crisis. Academic freedom is seriously constrained. The media offers less insight and analysis than could be expected given the proliferation of communication tools. Based on decades of research into the social and ideological functioning of discourse and with a focus on politics, universities, and the media, Jef Verschueren offers an analysis of current practices, asks whether we are all complicit, and makes suggestions for what we can do.
Central to this book is the notion of derailed reflexivity, referring to the observation that politics, institutions, and news reporting tend to be excessively aimed at public opinion, impression management, and clicks, to the detriment of policies addressing social justice issues, high-quality service, and media content. Highlighting that education is the cornerstone for democratic choices and ensures that we can critically assess media content, this book shows that shared responsibility can be a source of hope and that everyone has the power to intervene.
Complicity in Discourse and Practice is a call to action for readers and a plea for actively minding the ecology of the public sphere.
Table of Contents
ONE — IN SOCIETY
Terror and complicity
Ideas, influence, and power
Politics – and where it’s gone
Walls and borders
Of tongues ordinary and sublime
TWO — AT THE UNIVERSITY
Winners and losers
An academic cytokine storm
THREE — THROUGH THE MEDIA
The information funnel
Reflexivity on display
Info on demand
RECAP — SHARING RESPONSIBILITY
PROSPECT — AN ECOLOGY OF THE PUBLIC SPHERE?
Jef Verschueren is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the University of Antwerp and Secretary General of the International Pragmatics Association