Jennifer Saul

Jennifer Saul, University of Waterloo
17. März 2021 16.45 – 18.45h CEST   Virtual conference room
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Poster WKAP-Vortrag Jennifer Saul

Saying the Quiet Part Loud:
The Rise of Blatant Racism and Falsehood in Politics

Abstract: It is widely held that something has changed with respect to both blatantly racist speech and obvious falsehood  in recent years.  Both seem to have gone mainstream, to a shocking degree, in political speech.  There’s obviously nothing new at all about racism in politics, or about false political speech.  Yet since approximately the 1960s, politicians felt a need to conceal their racism at least partially, in response to the social unacceptability of explicit racism.  And concealment of falsehood obviously has a very long tradition in politics.  With the rise of the Far Right,  and the increasingly high profile of conspiracy theories, there seem to have been dramatic shifts. In this talk, I will explore this shift, focusing on how to conceptualise the nature of the changes in our discourse, and also on the linguistic mechanisms that have enabled it.  I will argue that although there are significant differences between the two phenomena, they are intertwined and facilitated by many of the same mechanisms. (I will focus largely on the US, but the lessons will hopefully be far more general.)