Power under the Veil of Democray

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The chapter describes and analyses how an “untouchable” position for a region board of politicians is achieved in and through the embodied, discursive management of public Q&A time and how this superior position is established through an official framework of conduct which can be defended as open, friendly, democratic and forthcoming. Furthermore, the paper describes and analyses the particular discourse-cognitive phenomenon of “inference reversal” which happens to some words and utterances as they are employed by the dominant party in the context of the manifestation of power. Characteristically such words and phrases carry as their standard meaning privileging, positive, polite, meriting, jovial, inclusive or even flattering senses. But as indexed by the embodied, discursive context—both the general context of the situation and the local sequential context of the interaction—they acquire diminishing, marginalizing, excluding or even ridiculing inferences that get to contribute to or consolidate the verbal and embodied construction of a superior position for the board of politicians against the public that has shown up at the region board meeting to ask questions. This reversal of meaning, it is argued, comes about because of the embodied interactional work that is done and a conceptual blend (Fauconnier and Turner, 2002) of contextual implications and a common standard meaning potential of the word, utterance or construction at hand. The chapter thus show how when two (or more) trajectories of interaction are at work, one official and one latent, unofficial or “accidental”, the former may be permeated by the latter, whereby the effect of the former deviates from what it “officially” may appear to be. Hence power under the veil of democracy
Translated title of the contributionMagt forklædt som demokrati
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Exercise of Power in Communication : Devices, Reception and Reaction
EditorsR. Schulze, H. Pishwa
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)9781137478375
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-47838-2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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