The rapid spread of the previously unknown coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has led to political decisions in many countries which have had a profound impact on the lives of all people in societies. In the public discourse on the Covid-19 pandemic these political decisions and their consequences for certain social groups are vividly discussed. The panel aims at investigating and (critically) discussing facets of inclusion and exclusion in the public discourse by the means of discourse linguistic analysis. The discourse on Covid-19 is taken as exemplary object of investigation, because this global discourse seems to allow general insights into the social standing of groups and linguistic practices of positioning and of speaking about social groups (that may differ from society to society).
The analysis of linguistic means in discourse can provide insight into unexpressed, stereotypical knowledge, which is presupposed as shared and commonly accepted knowledge and therefore does not need to be verbalised. Discourse is understood to be the discussion of a topic by larger social groups, which is reflected in texts of various kinds, not only reflecting the attitudes of those involved in the discourse, but at the same time guiding the future handling of the topic.
Subjects of talks in the panel may address but are not limited to the following research questions:
- In which way do social groups that are otherwise often marginalized in media discourse, gain visibility in the Covid-19 discourse (for example people with
disabilities, elderly people)?
- How is the differentiation between groups of people who need to be protected to a greater extent than others (so-called “risk groups”/people at higher risk for severe illness) linguistically represented, and which social groups are made a subject of discussion?
- Which discourse topics are in which way linked to aspects of gender, age, ethnicity or social origin, and which stereotypes emerge if applicable?
- What similarities/differences between Coivd-19 discourses in different languages and countries can be identified by contrastive discourse analyses?
- In which way do the protests around Covid-19 reflect inclusion or exclusion of certain groups? How do protesters linguistically construct their social position?
- Which lexical features and metaphors shape the discourse, and how do they reflect inclusion or exclusion?
- Which topoi are used in arguments regarding Covid-19 measures, especially concerning lockdown and curfew rules in general and for certain social groups?
- What insights does the discourse on freedom vs. health protection provide regarding the inclusion or exclusion of groups in societies?
We invite scholars working on one or more of the above-mentioned aspects to participate in our panel.
As there is lively pragmatic research activity related to Covid-19 (corpus collections in several languages, popular scientific information series on neologisms in this
discourse, an ongoing essay-project of the scientific journal Aptum, edited by Kersten S. Roth and Martin Wengeler) we look forward to reaching a broad international community of possible contributors.
Please submit your abstract until October 25, 2020 via the IprA website (https://pragmatics.international/page/CfP). Abstracts should contain min. 250 and max. 500 words providing information on the research question, data and methodology and (first) findings.