MLC Speaker Series: Michal Krzyzanowski, University of Liverpool, UK

Subject: Discursive Shifts, Recontextualisation & Multi Level Critique: Challenging Discourses of Neoliberalism and Populism

Abstract: As part of my ongoing contribution to the reflection on theoretical and analytical concepts in Critical Discourse Studies (CDS; see Krzyzanowski & Forchtner 2016), my lecture departs from highlighting the notion of critique. I argue that, in the context of increasing complexity and dynamism of neoliberal discourses (Krzyzanowski 2016) as well as discourses of populism (Krzyzanowski 2017 a,b; Wodak & Krzyzanowski 2017), and in view of their ongoing mediatisation and politicisation, there is a need to rethink how critique is conceived of and operationalised in CDS. I propose to view critique not only as attached to the linearity of critical-analytic research process (see e.g. Wodak 2001) but to first and foremost relate it to the multilevel and complex character of various types of contemporary public discourses as the objects of research. By the same token, I highlight centrality of recontextualisation (Bernstein 1990) as the core concept of (critical) discourse research, as well as propose the notion of discursive shift (Krzyzanowski 2013a, 2017a) which allows relating micro- and mezzo-level discourse dynamics to the wider facets of macro-level global and transnational discursive change (Fairclough 1992). As an example of operationalizing the notion of discursive shifts, I examine neoliberal policy discourses and political strategies and party-political discourses about immigration, and, more specifically, the 2015-16 Europe-wide ‘Refugee Crisis’. Drawing on critical, discourse-historical studies (see e.g. Krzyzanowski 2010; Wodak & Krzyzanowski 2008) esp. in the context of neoliberalism and right-wing populism (Krzyzanowski 2012, 2013b, 2016; Krzyzanowski & Wodak 2009), I point to the recontextualisation of topics and arguments across various spaces and genres carrying incl. online. I point to a multiplicity of patterns as well as the strategic nature of discursive shifts whose overall aim is to sustain and legitimize the often-radical ideological positions and to thereby steer and engineer socio-political and politico-economic dynamics.

Bio: Michał Krzyzanowski holds a Chair in Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool, UK where he currently also serves as Head of Department. He is affiliated to Örebro University, Sweden, where he has held a Chair in Media and Communication Studies since 2013. His interdisciplinary research focuses on the discourse of media and politics including in contexts of neoliberalism, right-wing populism and the politics of anti-immigration and exclusion. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Language and Politics and coeditor of book series Bloomsbury Advances in Critical Discourse Studies. He is the author and editor of several monographs and anthologies as well as numerous articles in critical discourse research on media and political communication.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Poulton Hall, 230
1421 37th St., N.W., Washington

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Academic Events


Georgetown College, Linguistics


Michal Krzyzanowski

Open to the public and the press?


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Jennie Brusstar

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