Discourses on women in the Polish parliamentary debates : dominance and resistance in critical and feminist linguistic perspective

Renc-Roe, Joanna (2003). Discourses on women in the Polish parliamentary debates : dominance and resistance in critical and feminist linguistic perspective. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f564

Abstract

This thesis constitutes a study of the dominant and resisting discourses on women in the Polish parliamentary debates using the combined perspectives of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and feminist linguistics. It provides a study of the discourses on women understood as dynamic ideological constmctions of gender in the political language. The analysis is aimed at highlighting issues of hegemonic power relations as well as possible resistance mechanisms in discourse using the dialectical understanding of discourse as social practice and its representation.

The understanding of discourse as a text is utilised in order to pinpoint some of the ideological investments of the main discourses on women in two Polish parliamentary debates concerned with gender issues. The CDA is utilised to carry out this analysis. The concepts of categorisation, frames and repertoires are selected to highlight the constructions of the two main discourses on women represented in the debates. This methodological approach provides means to explore the hegemonic power to define women as well as the power to resist the dominant constructions of femininity in the ‘texturing’ of the debates.

The second theoretical and methodological approach utilised for the study of another parliamentary debate on women’s issues is the feminist linguistic concept of the silencing mechanisms in interaction. This understanding of mechanisms of domination and resistance is applied to the study of one parliamentary debate conceived as a process and an interactive event. Using this perspective, I point out how domination of particular discourses/positions is achieved in the concrete discursive situation. This allows me to highlight another dimension of the power in discourse used to maintain or resist the dominant constructions of gender.

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