Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University researching political discourse, rhetoric and language cognition. Musician. Chavista. Labour Party member. Momentum. Antifascist. IMG throwback.

Trying to save the world on a part-time basis. Likes shoes.

Blogs on all of the above and more (but not so much shoes).

All views expressed here, my own (obviously).



6 thoughts on “About

  1. tell me more about marx, metaphor and mind-some of my reading has lead me to lakoff and johnson, and merlin donald on the latter two topics-have you found anyone who has written linking the latter and marx?

    • I’ve not got a title yet – I’m looking at the discourses surrounding the 2008 financial crisis (specifically stuff appearing in op-ed articles and debates).

      A large portion of my research centres around Lakoff and Johnson, especially George Lakoff (Merlin Donald rings a bell, but I couldn’t tell you why). I’m basically looking at ideology from the perspective of cognitive linguistics and how socially shared metaphors, and other cognitive structures, form the mental representations that constitute ideologies. I’m mostly interested in the creation of new, novel metaphors in times of economic crises as a way of attempting to legitimize (or delegitimize!) the existing economic regime – how you recyle old conceptual material, cognitive resources like metaphors, to create new conceptual structures, or ideologies. Fundamentally, I’m talking about how economic crises engender linguistic creativity.

      I borrow a bit from Jurgen Habermas and his concept of legitimation crisis:

      [T]he selective raising of taxes, the discernable pattern of priorities in their use and the administrative performance themselves must be so constituted that the need for legitimation can be satisfied as it arises… If [the state] fails in [this] task, a deficit in legitimation occurs.

      He goes on:

      Administrative planning produces unintended unsettling publicizing effects. These effects weaken the justification potential of traditions that have been flushed out of their nature-like course of development. Once their unquestionable character has been destroyed, the stabilization of validity claims can proceed only through discourse [or violence, I’d also suggest…] (p.72).

      The normative values, or ‘cultural affairs’, inherent to the economic order – e.g. individualism, minimal state intervention, self-interest as a virtue – are no longer taken as a given, but require rationalisation in discourse. There follows a necessary general ideological retrenchment. If, as Lakoff maintains, ideologies are constituted in part by metaphors (I don’t buy into this idea completely, but that’s a different issue…) it makes sense to say you’re gonna have a re-examination of those that are dominant and conventionalised. (Habermas himself borrows from Marx, indulges in some revisionism – I’m not at all convinced of his critique of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, which is where he departs from Marx vis economic crisis tendencies – and, regrettably, ends up being a bit of an apologist for social democracy. I’m trying to figure out whether those bits are integral to the theory of legitimation crisis or not – Habermas isn’t particularly easy to understand…).

      Sorry – I went off on one a bit…

  2. sounds very interesting,(yes, habermas whenever i have dipped has swallowed me up!)
    one issue i have been interested in (not in aany formal sense) is how ‘dialectical’ processes are so poorly understood and utilised by everyone from joe bloggs(maybe its metaphorical/bodily basis is weak/non existent-a challenge for us to develop and circulate some?!) up to academics in most fields(where some people have said we have not still learnt from the dialectical insights of hegel, corrected by marx-although there are good idelogical reasons for all this….so let’s look for and get out these metaphors!

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