The University of Southampton
Courses

SPAN2012 Power and Discourse in Spanish-speaking societies

Module Overview

This module analyses how power and ideologies are embedded in spoken and written language. It focuses particularly on public debates, political speeches, and parliamentary discourse as well as grassroots voices and non-elite responses to powerful discourses in Spanish-speaking contexts.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• introduce you to the language of a number of key contemporary political and sociolinguistic debates in Latin America, Spain and the US • consider how power can be embedded in different types of language and texts across a spectrum from elite to ‘grassroots’ discourses; • introduce you to a number of conceptual and analytical sociolinguistic frameworks used to interrogate language and discourse(s); • instruct you how to apply these conceptual and analytical frameworks to investigate the concept of power in language.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The different international contexts in which the Spanish language is used
  • A wide variety of key debates taking place in public, institutional and societal contexts in the Spanish- speaking world
  • The main characteristics of various texts in both spoken and written Spanish
  • How power and ideologies can be embedded in - and exercised through – spoken and written language
  • The conceptual and analytical tools which can be used to critically analyse language and discourse
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Think critically about how language can be used to achieve ideological objectives
  • Evaluate a range of texts in order to produce critical analyses of these
  • Understand and participate in verbal debates arising from the study of different texts
  • Make connections between the linguistic/discursive strategies in the texts and the social and linguistic practices and contexts in which the discourses occur
  • Make connections between what you read in/about Spanish-speaking contexts and your own experience as a Spanish speaker
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work effectively in different modes: presenting findings orally, collaborating with other students, exchanging ideas in seminars and carrying out critical discourse analysis based on real linguistic data
  • Demonstrate your ability to identify instances of ideological language use, focusing on both explicit and also implicit/embedded functions of power
  • Show that you have developed your ability to describe your research process and findings in group discussions as well as more formal verbal presentations, supported by appropriate empirical evidence and audio/visual materia
  • Apply the analytical skills acquired in this unit to your own language learning as well as potential future professional contexts
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse primary data and case studies (e.g. written texts, speeches, interview transcripts)
  • Provide a written critical analysis of how linguistic and rhetorical devices are employed in a range of texts and contexts, and how these reflect wider issues of power and ideology
  • Engage in in-depth discussions and give verbal presentations of how linguistic and rhetorical devices are employed in a range of texts and contexts and how these reflect wider issues of power and ideology.

Syllabus

This module analyses how power and ideologies are embedded in spoken and written language. It focuses particularly on public debates, political speeches, and parliamentary discourse as well as grassroots voices and non-elite responses to powerful discourses in Spanish-speaking contexts. Throughout this module, we study a range of texts emanating from contemporary social, political and linguistic debates, taking examples from Spain, Chile, Mexico and the US. In doing so, we seek to understand how particular (often elite) discourses are embedded with power, how they are constructed in order to achieve ideological objectives, and how these are contested in ‘grassroots’ responses.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • weekly double seminar session • small group discussions • class debates Short lectures/tutor presentations serve to introduce, analyse and investigate key aspects of power and ideology in language, as well as selected conceptual, analytical and methodological frameworks that can be used to reveal features and strategies of power in discourse. Readings carried out in advance of seminars lead in to small group discussions and class debates. These activities serve to consolidate students’ understanding of the approaches and case studies featured in the readings. The discussions and debates also provide a forum for application of the analytical frameworks to examples of contemporary and historical textual data drawn from Spanish-language contexts. Learning activities include: • completing specified preparatory reading tasks; • reading, analysis and discussion of textual, audio and visual data; • individual/group analysis of data and oral presentations of findings (informal and assessed); • group discussion and class debates on selected topics; • individual essays and research papers (assessed).

TypeHours
Independent Study126
Teaching24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Paffey, D. (2012). Language ideologies and the globalization of ‘standard’ Spanish. 

Van Dijk, T. A. (2005). Racism and discourse in Spain and Latin America. 

Penny, R. (2012). A History of the Spanish Language. 

Mayr, A. (ed.) (2008). Language and Power: An introduction to institutional discourse. 

Chilton, P (2004). Analysing political discourse : theory and practice. 

Fairclough, N.. Language and power. 

Holborow, M. (1999). The Politics of English: a Marxist view of language. 

Mar-Molinero, C. (2000). The politics of language in the Spanish-speaking world. 

Module site on Blackboard, and reserve collection of readings in the library and digital readings on e-reserve. Otherwise, no special resources required.. 

Blommaert, J (2005). Discourse: A Critical Introduction. 

Lorenzo-Dus, N. (ed.) (2010). Spanish at Work. 

Mar-Molinero, C. & Stewart, M. (2006). Globalization and language in the Spanish-speaking world : macro and micro perspectives. 

Blackledge, A. (2005). Discourse and Power in a Multilingual World. 

Del Valle, J. (ed.) (2007). La lengua, ¿patria común? : ideas e ideologías del español. 

Wodak, R. & Meyer, M. (2001). Methods of critical discourse analysis. 

Lodares, J. R. (2005). El porvenir del español. 

Castillo Lluch, M. & Kabatek, J. (eds.) (2006). Las lenguas de España: Política lingüística, sociología del lenguaje e ideologia desde la Transición hasta la actualidad. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Essay (40%) You will choose one question (from a selection) regarding issues of language, power and ideology and produce an essay of 2,000 words to demonstrate their understanding of the core concepts of this module. This will assess your ability to know and apply a variety of conceptual and analytical tools which can be used to critically analyse language and discourse. Take-away exam (20%) You will receive a short text to take away and analyse, providing a written evaluation of approximately 1,000 words. The text will be provided on Monday, and students will submit their analysis by Friday of the same week. The short period of time that you have to analyse the text will demonstrate your ability to deal with a range of possible primary data and case studies, as well as your ability to provide a written critical analysis of the linguistic and rhetorical devices employed in the short text, and how these reflect wider issues of power and ideology. Presentation of critical analysis (30%) You will identify and select your own example of Spanish-language data and conduct a critical analysis, justifying the choice of data and analytical approach, and present your data, discussion and key analytical findings in a verbal presentation to the rest of the class. The assessment allows you to show that you have developed your ability to describe the research process and findings through formal verbal presentations, supporting your analysis with appropriate evidence and audio/visual material. Participation (10%) A mark will be given to reflect your individual ability to contribute to class discussions and engage constructively with in-class debates throughout this module. The tutor will base this mark on observation notes taken throughout the module, judged against a set of marking criteria. This assessment relates to the learning outcome of ensuring that you understand and can participate in verbal debates on the module topics. This module encourages you to develop your skills as a researcher through introducing you to a variety of discourses and texts and then inviting you to explore further contexts in which ideology and power are at work in spoken/written discourses. This will help sensitise you to the hidden aspects of language use that you will encounter during your year abroad, and prepare you for the Year Abroad Research Project.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 40%
Participation 10%
Presentation of critical analysis 30%
Resubmit assessments 100%
Take-away exam 20%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: Minimum Stage 3 Spanish language

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