The first assignment is an essay of about 1500-2000 words aimed either at relating concepts of language and power to contexts with which you are familiar, or at
providing an overview of central issue in the beginning part of the subject.
This is aimed at relating understanding of language and power to an everyday language event.
Take a context with which you are familiar, preferably something from your everyday experience (though you might also use other media such as television if you prefer)
and discuss ways in which language and power operate in that context. Issue such as institutional power and other relations of social power (class, gender and so on)
will be important.
Joseph’s different frameworks of the politics of language may help.
You should try to relate your discussion of this context with the readings from the beginning of the class, especially Joseph’s.
Thus you might look at an everyday incident at home, in your workplace, or in another institution, and reflect, using the readings from the first part of the course,
on ways in which language and power operate together.
You will be expected to draw parallels between the context under discussion and several but not necessarily all of the readings from the first module.
Summarize key themes from the first module of the class, and try to show different ways in which we can go about looking at questions of language and power.
You should clearly deal with the readings from the first part of the subject, and discussion of some further reading may be useful here. You may want to focus on a
particular institution-education, law, or medicine, or a particular relation of social power-class, gender or race- or you may prefer to give an overview of several
In choosing either option 1 or option 2, you may choose whatever balance you prefer (that is to say, you can see these two options as possible ends of a continuum).
You may choose to analyse a context in depth with reference to a small range of readings, connections to a particular context. For both options, a widening of the
discussion through further reading will be useful though not required.
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