Innovations and Challenges: Women, Language and Sexism  book cover
1st Edition

Innovations and Challenges: Women, Language and Sexism

ISBN 9780367133719
Published April 7, 2020 by Routledge
190 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Innovations and Challenges: Women, Language and Sexism brings together an outstanding collection of essays from internationally recognised researchers to recontextualise some of the questions raised by feminist thinkers 40 years ago. By taking linguistically mediated violence as a central topic, this collection’s main objective is to explore the different and subtle ways sexism and violence are materialised in discursive practices. In doing so, this book:

  • Takes a multi-stranded investigation into the linguistic and semiotic representations of sexism in societies from an applied linguistic and semiotic perspective;
  • Combines critical discourse analysis, multimodality, interactional sociolinguistics and corpus methodologies to look at language, visuals and semiotic resources in the context of consumerist culture;
  • Examines the conflicted position of women and the discourses of discrimination that still exist in every strand of modern societies;
  • Contextualises pervasive gender issues and reviews key gender and language topics that changed the ways we interpret interaction from the early 1970s until the present;
  • Focuses on institutional discourses and the questions of how women are excluded or discriminated against in the workplace, the law and educational contexts.

Innovations and Challenges: Women, Language and Sexism revisits the initial questions posed by the first feminist linguists – where, when and how are women discriminated against and why, in postmodern societies, is there so much sexism in all realms of social life? This book is essential reading for those studying and researching gender across a wide range of disciplines.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations

Notes on Contributors


Preface - Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard

Part I

Language, discourse and gender violence

1. Women, language and public discourse: five decades of sexism and scrutiny

Alice F. Freed

2. The gender respect gap

Deborah Cameron

3. The transgressive, the traditional: sexist discourses of grandmothering and ageing

Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard and Rosamund Moon

4. Disco divas and heroic knights: a critical multimodal analysis of gender roles in "create the world" LEGO cards

Jai Mackenzie, Laura Coffey-Glover, Sophie Payne, Mark McGlashan

5. Sexual harassment as reported by the Brazilian press: ambivalent and contradictory framings

Branca Telles Ribeiro and Liliana Cabral Bastos

Part II

Sexism and institutional discourses

6. "Until I got a man in he wouldn't listen": evidence for the gender order in New Zealand workplaces

Janet Holmes

7. Sexism and mediatised recontextualisations: the case of a battered woman who killed

Sibley Slinkard and Susan Ehrlich

8. The discourse of (re)exploitation: female victims in the legal system

Nicci MacLeod

9. Language-based discrimination in schools: intersections of gender and sexuality

Helen Sauntson

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Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard is Professor of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. She is also Senior Research Fellow in the English Department at the University of Birmingham, UK, where she taught and researched for many years. She has published widely in the areas of Critical Discourse, Media and Gender Studies.


"A masterpiece of language and gender research, and a powerful political intervention in current times. Covering a broad geopolitical spectrum, and employing different theoretical and methodological approaches, this book is an indispensable read for everyone who wants to challenge sexism through intellectual and activist practices."

Tommaso M. Milani, University of Gothenburg and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

"Persuasive arguments for revisiting and reinterrogating the central questions for feminists in the 1960s, in relation to linguistically mediated violence, evaluating where progress has been made and where more nuanced contextualised work still needs to be done."

Sara Mills, Emeritus Research Professor in Linguistics at Sheffield Hallam University

"This collection focuses our attention on the continued verbal and structural violence that shapes and restricts women’s experience in the world. The chapters reflect critically on the political, social and interpersonal impact of sexism; they are eloquent in outlining ways in which the world could be different – and in articulating the factors that impede those changes."

Miriam Meyerhoff, Victoria University of Wellington