Fixing meaning: the many voices of the post-liberal hegemony in Russia

Angermuller, Johannes (2012). Fixing meaning: the many voices of the post-liberal hegemony in Russia. Journal of Language and Politics, 11(1) pp. 115–134.



This contribution looks into a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin after the terrorist attack against a high school in the Northern Caucasian town Beslan in September 2004, widely seen as marking the end of the liberal hegemony in the Russia of the post-soviet period. However, a closer look reveals the many possible readings that are made of the speech. According to the reactions found in a corpus of press articles, the speech activates both “internationalist“ and “sovereignist“ readings in media discourse. By pointing out the polyphonic organization of discourse, I make the case for a productive exchange between the French tradition of discourse analysis, interactionism and critical discourse analysis. In this view, the readers have to deal with the many different voices crisscrossing political discourse. In the light of its polyphonic organization, the meaning of discourse needs to be “fixed“ by the participants of political discourse.

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