Feminism and Linguistic Theory by Deborah Cameron

By Deborah Cameron

Feminism has continuously acknowledged the significance of language in either idea and perform; the recent feminist scholarship of the final two decades has made wide use of theories approximately language in makes an attempt to appreciate and remodel women's lives. Feminism and Linguistic concept is a serious creation to this evolving physique of labor. Accessibly written and newly revised to take account of contemporary advancements, its scope is vast, encompassing paintings in linguistics, anthropology, literary and cultural concept, psychoanalysis and postmodern philosophy.

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At the very least feminists can hope to correct the gross errors of methodology and interpretation which have led to much lame and inadequate theorising; and more ambitiously, they may set out to create a framework for the study of gender that will have influence in other areas of study, changing them - and thus sociolinguistics - for the better. Not only is the study of sex difference an obvious concern for feminist linguists, it is a crucial one politically: for assertions of women's difference from men are the implicit and often the explicit foundation on which sexism and inequality rest.

One way a visiting alien would be able to tell that the male/female difference is not just an insignificant human variation is by observing how obsessively, how incessantly we talk about it. As long as Kristeva's third stage is present in our thinking only as a Utopian dream, feminists cannot simply refuse to 40 Feminism and Linguistic Theory get involved in this endless discourse of difference; people who claim that this is a postfeminist era are living in a dream world. But we do have to face the paradox implicit in our contributing to the discourse, which is that every word we say on the subject of difference just underlines the salience and the importance of a division we are ultimately striving to end ..

In this case, for instance, the Black soldier is interpreted as loyal: not coerced, or deluded. Once something becomes a sign in the culture, with its place in a whole network of signs, the union of signifier and signified which it embodies (out of all the other possibilities) comes to be seen as natural and indissoluble. ) This way of talking about cultural images is potentially interesting to feminists. It might explain, for instance, why the image of a naked woman normally invokes the ideas of availability and degradation.

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