Bruce Hawkins

0. Introduction

I am going to open this paper with the true story of a name and I want you to pay very careful attention. It is, literally, a matter of life and death.

The name "Ken Hawkins" means a lot to me. For the first 24 years of my life, the referent of "Ken Hawkins" was my father. In the Spring of my 15th year, Ken Hawkins got what turned out to be a death sentence when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He battled against this killer cancer for almost nine years, finally succumbing to it on a rainy monday evening in February 1978.

For the next six years, the name "Ken Hawkins" referred, for me at least, only to the painful memory of a distant father I never quite got to know. We had begun developing the intimate bond I always craved during the last few months of his life, when the ravages of cancer confined him to a wheelchair. But just as I was beginning to make sense of the man and my relationship with him, death intervened to make the distance between us greater than ever before.

My father was gone forever, and there was nothing I would ever be able to do about that. But his name lives on; it was revived just an hour or so after midnight on sunday morning, 5 February 1984, when my Japanese wife gave birth to our first child--a son. We had agreed months earlier that the name "Ken Hawkins" would be perfect if the child turned out to be a boy. Not only does the name honor my fallen father, it also celebrates our son's dual cultural and ethnic heritage in that the name "Ken" has as much currency in contemporary Japanese culture as it does in contemporary American culture.

And so, for the past 14 years of my life, I have had the opportunity to build with my son, Ken Hawkins, the kind of relationship that I wish I had enjoyed with my father, Ken Hawkins.

My purpose in telling you this particular story is not to bore you with insignificant details of my personal life. It is, rather, to preview a central point of this paper: that experiences of life and death can lend significant power to almost any text. This paper emerges from a pedagogically oriented research project the central goal of which is to reveal how language gains its oppressive power in texts and contexts reported by Haig Bosmajian in The Language of Oppression. The research program is conceptualized within the framework of Cognitive Linguistics, which assumes that meaning ultimately derives from embodied human experience. Among embodied human experiences, nothing is more powerful than life and death. The texts examined in this paper reveal that oppressors attempt to harness the power of life and death experiences through carefully crafted iconographic references to themselves and their enemies. By appealing strategically to particular iconographic frames of reference, which are complex cognitive structures comprising a coherent set of highly valued images, oppressors craft texts which create a string of semantic associations leading from their enemies to the most feared of human experiences: death. And by setting themselves up as the force opposing such an enemy, oppressors construct an iconographic image of themselves as the HERO -- the agent/protector of life.

1. The Language of Oppression . . . revisited

In The Language of Oppression, Haig Bosmajian demonstrates clearly and powerfully that language is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of an oppressor. In the book's introduction, Bosmajian defines his purpose as follows:

This then is our task -- to identify the decadence in our language, the inhumane uses of language, the "silly words and expressions" which have been used to justify the unjustifiable, to make palatable the unpalatable, to make reasonable the unreasonable, to make decent the indecent. Hitler's "Final Solution" appeared reasonable once the Jews were successfully labeled by the Nazis as sub-humans, as "parasites," "vermin," and "bacilli." The segregation and suppression of blacks in the United States was justified once they were considered "chattels" and "inferiors." The subjugation of the "American Indians" was defensible since they were defined as "barbarians" and "savages." As Peter Farb has said, "cannibalism, torture, scalping, mutilation, adultery, incest, sodomy, rape, filth, drunkenness -- such a catalogue of accusations against a people is an indication not so much of their depravity as that their land is up for grabs." As long as adult women are "chicks," "girls," "dolls," "babes," and "ladies," their status in society will remain "inferior": they will go on being treated as subjects in the subject-master relationship as long as the language of the law places them into the same class as children, minors, and the insane.

It is my hope that an examination of the language of oppression will result in a conscious effort by the reader to help cure this decadence in our language, especially that language which leads to dehumanization of the human being. One way for us to curtail the use of the language of oppression is for those who find themselves being defined into subjugation to rebel against such linguistic suppression. It isn't strange that those persons who insist on defining themselves, who insist on this elemental privilege of naming, self-definition, and self-identity encounter vigorous resistance. Predictably, the resistance usually comes from the oppressor or would-be oppressor and is a result of the fact that he or she does not want to relinquish the power which comes from the ability to define others.

Bosmajian's approach to this task is reflected in the structure of his book, which has five central chapters on the language of Anti-Semitism, White Racism, Indian Derision, Sexism, and War. In each of these chapters, Bosmajian makes his point by presenting a collection of texts in which a particular group uses language strategically to define some other group in ways that establish and maintain an imbalance of power between those two groups. In effect, Bosmajian has catalogued the language of oppression according to the populations involved in the oppressive discourse.

Bosmajian's work effectively raises awareness of the language of oppression, but awareness is only a necessary preliminary step in the linguist's effort to combat oppression. The next step is to examine the linguistic data closely enough to reveal how language gains oppressive power. Toward that end, we will examine in this paper key passages from the texts in (1) - (4), all drawn from Bosmajian's corpus.

(1) Bear in mind the devastation which Jewish bastardization visits on our nation each day, and consider that this blood poisoning can be removed from our national body only after centuries, if at all; consider further how racial disintegration drags down and often destroys the last Aryan values of our German people, so that our strength as a culture-bearing nation is visibly more and more involved in a regression and we run the risk, in our big cities at least, of reaching the point where southern Italy is today. This contamination of our people is carried on systematically by the Jew today. Systematically these black parasites of the nation defile our inexperienced young blonde girls and thereby destroy something which can no longer be replaced in this world.

from Mein Kampf

(quoted in Bosmajian, pp. 19-20.)

(2) This pestilence will ask no man's permission to put an end to the democracies through the Marxist leadership, [and] it will do so without any man's leave, unless it meets with opposition. And this opposition must be something else than merely Platonic rejection of the doctrine, or any more or less solemn proclamation of hostility: there must be an immunization of the people against this poison while the international carrier of the bacillus must be fought.

from Hitler's Speeches

(quoted in Bosmajian, p. 23)

(3) It shall hereafter be unlawful for any white person in this State to marry any save a white person, or a person with no other admixture of blood than white and American Indian. For the purpose of this chapter, the term 'white person' shall apply only to such person as has no trace whatever of any blood other than Caucasian; but persons who have one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian and have no other non-Caucasic blood shall be deemed to be white persons.

State of Virginia: Act to preserve racial integrity

(quoted in Bosmajian, pp. 41-42)

(4) Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with this arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Circuit Court of Caroline County, Virginia, January 1959

(quoted in Bosmajian, p. 43)

2. The conceptual foundations of oppression

oppression unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power, especially by the imposition of burdens; especially: the unlawful, excessive, or corrupt exercise of power other than by extortion by any public officer so as to harm anyone in his rights, person or property while purporting to act under color of governmental authority

Webster's Third New International Dictionary, p. 1584

Oppression is a sociopolitical dynamic which involves strategic creation and manipulation of resources to establish and maintain an artificial imbalance of power within a particular social formation. Oppressors reserve for themselves rights and privileges that they summarily deny to others. Oppressors can test the limits of their own developmental potential, while they systematically deny such opportunities to others. In extreme cases, oppressors reserve for themselves the right to live and, consequently, take actions to end the lives of others.

Oppression being a sociopolitical problem, it is reasonable to question what insights might be expected from a linguist like myself, thoroughly interpellated by the cognitivist perspective on language. Bosmajian provides a significant clue when he notes that oppressors use language strategically "to justify the unjustifiable, to make palatable the unpalatable, to make reasonable the unreasonable, to make decent the indecent." All of these -- justify, make palatable, make reasonable and make decent -- involve conceptual operations. That being the case, oppression isn't simply a matter of sociopolitical organization; it is also a matter of the mind.

Look at it this way: oppression doesn't just happen. Oppression is, as the dictionary definition above makes quite clear, imposed by persons in positions of authority or power. From this, we must recognize that this sociopolitical phenomenon has its roots in the mind of the oppressor. Before exercising the power of governmental authority to impose an oppressive regime, the oppressor must formulate a plan, be it explicit or implicit, for the social order that s/he intends to impose. This is precisely what Adolf Hitler did in writing Mein Kampf while confined to a German prison in the early days of the Weimar Republic.

Making sense of the sociopolitical phenomenon of oppression is a task for the historian and the political scientist. Attempting to make sense of the frame of mind that could conceptualize, rationalize, and justify an oppressive regime is within the domain of inquiry of cognitive science. The cognitive scientist sees oppression as a conceptualized social order imposed upon a particular sociopolitical formation. That social order emerges from a belief system in the mind of the oppressor. This belief system not only gives rise to oppressive decisions and actions, it makes those decisions and actions seem entirely logical and justified to the oppressor. I suggest that the belief system of an oppressor comprises and integrates five rather basic conceptual structures: focal difference, deixis, preference, privilege, and dismissal.

2.1 Focal difference

We experience a world full of diversity. I gaze into my wife's garden and I experience a beautiful array of flowers, each distinct from the others in color and size and shape. I walk into my classroom on the first day of a new semester and I see a collection of bright young faces, each distinct from the others. I participate in a professional seminar that causes me to reflect on my life in academia and I am fascinated by the distinct disciplinary approaches to the fundamental tasks of posing questions and seeking answers to those questions.

Differences exist in the world we experience; that much is an incontrovertible fact of life. It is not always the task of the cognitive scientist to make sense of the differences we experience. The cognitive scientist may just marvel at the beautiful array of natural life forms experienced in a garden or in a classroom. The cognitive scientist should be called upon, however, when the differences we experience are themselves a product of human reasoning. This is probably the case with the phenomena referred to as academic disciplines; the cognitive scientist might be able to tell us something significant about the nature of the difference in such cases and, ultimately, about the nature of that thing we call an academic discipline.

Difference is a matter of the world we live in, but it is not just that. Difference is also a matter of the mind, and whenever something is a matter of the mind, the cognitive scientist can be expected to offer useful insights. When I gaze into my wife's garden and see just a bunch of flowers, I have performed a minor cognitive miracle. I have ignored the incredibly beautiful diversity to be found there and I have chosen, instead, to focus my attention on a unity that I perceive as banal--just a bunch of flowers. The cognitive scientist can make sense of this conceptual miracle quite explicitly by telling me about the cognitive phenomenon of categorization. Through categorization, the human being has the conceptual ability to ignore certain differences between experienced entities so as to treat those entities as if they were alike. These distinct entities belong to the same conceptual category. But categorization also has the effect of calling special attention to other experienced differences. Entities recognized as different belong to contrasting categories. Thus, I may ignore differences between me and others by categorizing and referring to all of us as human beings. On the other hand, I may highlight a perceived difference, for example by categorizing and referring to one set of human beings as men and another set as women.

Categorization is a matter of the mind that can play funny tricks with differences that exist in the real world. In some cases, categorization can blind us to observable differences in the world we experience. In other cases, categorization can highlight differences that might otherwise have escaped our attention.

Categorization has a significant impact on the belief system of the oppressor. Categorization allows the oppressor to become fixated on a particular difference between peoples. This focal difference, which exists as such only as a result of the fixation in the mind of the oppressor, is the basic conceptual resource needed by an oppressor to see and construct the world as a matter of US versus THEM.

2.2 Deixis

Linguists recognize the contrast between US and THEM as a basic manifestation of deixis. Deixis is a conventionalized cognitive process through which meaning is derived by relating the referential features of a text to the contextual variables influencing a particular experiencer's interpretation of that text. Deixis is probably an outgrowth of the primitive cognitive organizing principle Piagetians refer to as egocentrism. In effect, deixis involves conventionalizing egocentric structuring within a particular conceptual system.

In the case of US versus THEM, we are dealing with a conceptual system for categorizing groups of people. US is a conceptual category defined relative to me. This category includes me and other people recognized as being like me in some significant way. THEM is a contrasting category which includes all other people. These people are, essentially by definition, not like me. The focal point in the difference between these two categories is, quite clearly, ME. The difference that becomes focal in this case is the presence or absence of the characteristic(s) that would make you be like me. If you exhibit the same focal characteristics that I do, then you are one of US. If not, then you are one of THEM.

2.3 Preference

Oppression involves a cognitive process of blowing a focal difference radically out of proportion. The stage is set for this process whenever any difference becomes conceptually focal. In the case of oppression, this is accomplished through the imposition of an US versus THEM categorization system. The process of blowing a focal difference out of proportion involves integrating such a categorization system with a preference system. In the case of oppression, the preference system is very basic: when confronted with diversity, prefer self over other, prefer same over different. Through this simple preference system, the US category gains preference over the THEM category.

2.4 Privilege

The cognitive process of blowing a focal difference out of proportion is polar in nature. Privilege is the positive polarity in this process. Conceptually, privilege involves strategically adding ameliorative meaning to an experience by establishing a conceptual link between that focal experience and one or more other experiences regarded as pleasurable. Pragmatically, privilege involves granting a set of benefits, advantages and/or favors to a preferred category. Privilege can range in severity from distribution of small perks such as candy or cheap trinkets to more substantive favors such as giving a person your time, attention and affection. In cases of oppression, privilege includes freedom to develop one's potential and, possibly, the basic right to life.

2.5 Dismissal

Dismissal is the negative polarity in the process of blowing a focal difference out of proportion. Dismissal involves removing some entity from consideration. Conceptually, this entails reducing some experience to nothing. In the classroom, dismissal can (and too often does) take the form of consistent refusal on the part of the instructor to allow a particular student or set of students to participate in the discourses of the classroom. In the case of Nazi oppression of the Jews during the Holocaust, dismissal took the more ominous form of genocide. Hitler's Final Solution involved systematically dismissing 6 million Jews from this life on Earth. Indeed, in the next section of this paper, we will see that texts constructed by oppressors focus strategically on conceptual dismissal of the basic humanity of those the oppressors view as their enemies. This, in turn, allows the oppressor to construct an effective case for pragmatic dismissal of the oppressed from the social order.

3. Iconographic reference

The present research program adopts a process perspective on meaning. This perspective takes seriously the observational fact that "meaning" is derived from the verb "to mean" and the progressive morpheme "-ing." From this perspective, meaning is seen as a process of constructing understandings -- of people, of events, of texts. In effect, meaning is a matter of telling stories to make sense of human experience.

This perspective leads directly to the conclusion that particular meanings are not immutable structures which become indelibly etched into the minds of those who have accepted a particular story of human experience. Meanings are, rather, time-bound events which reflect particular episodes of interaction between three crucial processes involved in the human activity of making sense: experience, selection, and grounding. The process of experience provides the basic substantive resources from which any meaningful text is derived. As no text can ever include all relevant information pertaining to any experience, any text must be selective in the information it presents. This process of selection appeals to sets of conceptual tools such as those discussed in Langacker 1987. All texts are constructed in a particular pragmatic context, which in itself is rich with resources which can contribute to the meaning of a text constructed in that pragmatic context. Grounding is the process through which the pragmatic context is meaningfully related to images selectively constructed from experience. Selection and grounding work together in the construction of meaningful images from experience. The particular conceptual tools accessed and the particular information selected for presentation as a textual image depend directly on the nature of the information needed to construct the image that a speaker or writer intends to convey to a particular audience in a particular context.

This process perspective on meaning in general yields a process perspective on reference. From this perspective, "reference" is taken quite literally to mean the process of directing attention or turning to some fundamental resource for information. The resource in this case is embodied human experience of particular things or people. When reference is iconographic in nature, the selection process brings into the picture an iconographic frame of reference to mediate the reference process and ultimately impose a recognizable, conventionalized structure to the particular act of reference.

An iconographic frame of reference (or "iconography" for short) is a conventionalized cognitive structure comprising a coherent set of highly valued images. For the purposes of the present analysis, we will need to consider three distinct iconographies. The conceptual factor uniting these three iconographies is the role of life and death experiences in providing coherence to the set of images and in associating a distinct value to each individual image. By appealing to such an iconography in a given act of reference, the storyteller (i.e., the speaker or writer who initiates the act of reference) conceptually turns that act of reference into a matter of life and death.

Before turning our attention back to the data from Bosmajian in (1) - (4), let us consider the language of oppression in a document that escaped Bosmajian's attention. On the third of November in 1755, Spencer Phips, Esq., acting in the official capacity of "Lieutenant-Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England," issued a proclamation requiring "his Majesty's subjects of this Province to embrace all Opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and destroying all and every of the [Penobscot] Indians." This powerful document is presented in its entirety below:

By His Honour

Spencer Phips, Esq;

Lieutenant-Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England.


Whereas the Tribe of Penobscot Indians have repeatedly in a perfidious Manner acted contrary to their solemn Submission unto His Majesty long since made and frequently renewed;

I have therefore, at the Desire of the House of Representatives, with the Advice of His Majesty's Council, thought fit to issue this Proclamation, and to declare the Penobscot Tribe of Indians to be Enemies, Rebels and Traitors to His Majesty King George the Second: And I do hereby require His Majesty's Subjects of this Province to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians (emphasis added).

(The document goes on to list the bounties to be paid for prisoners and scalps. It is dated the third day of November 1755.)

3.1 The WARRIOR Iconography

In this document, the 'honorable' Mr. Phips, Esq. appealed to an iconographic frame of reference to characterize the Penobscot Indians as "enemies, rebels and traitors." This iconography is a hierarchically structured conceptual system which comprises a very familiar set of images--the HERO, the VICTIM and the VILLAIN. Mr. Phips' reference to the Penobscot Indians in this text is mediated by the VILLAIN image in this cognitive structure, which I refer to as the WARRIOR iconography.

Figure 1

The WARRIOR iconography

The coherence of this iconography and the distinct values of the images within it are a function of the value that is placed on human life. But, crucially, it is not all human life that provides the root values of this particular iconography. The lives of the HERO and the VICTIM are valued, but that of the VILLAIN is not. The reason for this is that, in this iconography, a life is valued only if it is lived within a particular social order--that of the HERO (and the VICTIM.) The HERO is conceptualized as the protector of life within that social order. The VILLAIN is conceptualized as a significant threat to life within that social order. The VILLAIN, therefore, is commonly seen as an agent of death and as an outsider to the particular social order. The VICTIM is evidence within the social order of the existence, indeed omnipresence, of this outsider, agent of death and destruction that may at any moment threaten the sanctity of life within the social order.

In Mr. Phips' appeal to the WARRIOR iconography, the life valued (or LIFE as WE know it) is only that which is lived in "solemn submission unto His Majesty ... King George the Second." Mr. Phips creates a focal difference between "his Majesty's subjects of this Province" and the Penobscot Indians by declaring that the Penobscots "have repeatedly in a perfidious Manner acted contrary to their solemn Submission unto His Majesty." Mr. Phips then dismisses the Penobscots from this social order by defining them as "enemies, rebels and traitors," all of which are simply distinct lexical manifestations of the VILLAIN. Having accomplished this conceptual dismissal, Mr. Phips can then state a public policy dismissing the Penobscots pragmatically. This is the step in which Mr. Phips requires subjects loyal to the King "to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians." Such treatment would never be considered for one of US, but it is seen as entirely appropriate when dealing with any and all of THEM.

3.2 The Light/Color Iconography

Life-giving energy from the sun provides the coherence factor for another iconography that structures numerous texts in the language of oppression. The conventionalized structure of this iconography begins with the understanding that the sun emits light. Absence of the sun's light leaves US in darkness. The unfiltered light of the sun has been experienced and conceptualized as WHITE, and the experience of darkness has been conceptualized as the color BLACK. This dichotomy becomes seen as a matter of life and death when the sun's light is recognized as supporting LIFE as WE know it here on earth. By extrapolation, this leads to the conventional belief that darkness does not support LIFE as WE know it. This iconographic frame of reference, then, codifies in our conceptual system a string of associations between WHITE and life on the one hand, and between BLACK and death on the other.

Figure 2

The Light/Color iconography

In (1), Hitler appeals to this iconography in referring to the Jews as "these black parasites of the nation." There is no direct experience of darkness in the physical relationship between Hitler and the Jews to motivate a literal appeal to BLACK in this text. The motivation lies in the mind of oppressor, who wishes to establish textually for his audience a conceptual link between the Jews and the possibility of death for the Nazis.

In (3) and (4) the state of Virginia appeals to the same iconography in drawing conclusions about marital (and sexual) relations between peoples the state chooses to view as racially different. In (3), the state's legislature appeals to this iconography in attempting to define a particular group of people as WHITE. In (4), the Circuit Court of Caroline County, Virginia seizes on this color categorization to distinguish people in the WHITE category from those in other categories, all but one of which (malay) are characterized on the basis of color. The court goes on to assert that this focal difference of color/race has its source in "Almighty God."

In this case, the distinction between WHITE people and BLACK people does have an experiential motivation. That is, there is an observable difference between (most) people recognized as WHITE and (most of) those recognized as BLACK. But careful, critical reflection on the observable pigmentation differences between these groups of people reveals clearly that this difference is blown out of proportion. Those people seen as WHITE are not, in fact, the same color as a sheet of paper seen as WHITE. Similarly, those people seen as BLACK are not, in fact, the same color as a sheet of paper seen as BLACK. Crucially, the two groups are seen as WHITE and BLACK when conceptualized relative to each other through the lens of the Light/Color iconography. This iconographic conceptualization takes a perceived focal difference and blows it out of proportion by turning it into polar opposition. This polar opposition between WHITE people and BLACK people is a matter of the mind imposed on our social order by generations of oppressors.

3.3 The Human Body Iconography

The human body is the locus of LIFE as WE know it. In other words, our experience of LIFE is mediated through the human body. That is, the human body is the vessel through which WE experience and attempt to make sense of LIFE. Any threat to the well-being of the human body, therefore, is a threat to LIFE as WE know it. These are the fundamental characteristics of Human Body iconography.

Figure 3

The Human Body iconography

Hitler appealed repeatedly to the Human Body iconography in crafting his particular idiolect of the language of oppression. Indeed, there are multiple manifestations of the Human Body iconography in (1). Hitler begins by appealing to the conventionalized metaphor A NATION IS A BODY in conceptualizing and characterizing Nazi Germany as "our national body." Working strategically within this metaphor and integrating it with the Human Body iconography, Hitler metaphorically characterizes the Jews as "blood poisoning." In one masterful textual step, Hitler has constructed a focal difference between the Jews and the rest of Nazi Germany at the same time that he has provided a conceptual motivation for their dismissal. Blood poisoning threatens LIFE as WE know it by attacking the fluid which carries nourishment and oxygen to all parts of the body. Later in the same text, Hitler accomplishes essentially the same conceptual miracle by characterizing the Jews as the agent of "the contamination of our people." In (4), Hitler appeals to the same conceptual resources in referring to Communism as "pestilence" and a "poison" and in arguing that "there must be an immunization of the people against this poison."

In the examples that we have just examined, Hitler appealed to the Human Body iconography to conceptualize the Jews as a pathogen which causes disease in the human body. In the very same texts, Hitler also succeeds in conceptualizing his enemies as an opponent wielding weapons to cause injury to the body. This is the case when Hitler repeatedly appeals to the verb "destroy" in (1). It also appears to be what Hitler has in mind when he notes that "the international carrier of the bacillus must be fought." In this final referential structure, Hitler has teamed the pathogen image ("bacillus") with the opponent image ("carrier").

4. Conclusion: Ideology and Iconography

In The Language of Oppression, Haig Bosmajian has shown that language is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the oppressor. In this paper, I have shown that the conceptual resources the oppressor calls upon in crafting an oppressive text include iconographic frames of reference. I have characterized and examined the textual manifestations of three such iconographies: the WARRIOR iconography, the Light/Color iconography, and the Human Body iconography. Each of these conventionalized cognitive structures is a conceptual matter of life and death, in that life and death experiences lend coherence to the iconography and differentiate the values of particular images therein.

Before closing, it is important in this context to call attention to the close relationship that exists between ideology and iconographic frames of reference. Following Hodge and Kress 1993, I view ideology "as a systematic body of ideas, organized from a particular point of view. Ideology is thus a subsuming category which includes sciences and metaphysics, as well as political ideologies of various kinds, without implying anything about their status and reliability as guides to reality." The iconographic frames of reference that we have been examining in this paper are important vehicles through which ideology becomes codified in the conceptual system of the individual. This is an important point that I articulated reasonably clearly in Hawkins 1997a:

There is a close relationship between ideology and iconography. Ideology is ubiquitous in our lives, but its common-sensical nature makes it something that we are generally not equipped to articulate effectively. That is, we live by it, but we generally don't think about it and, therefore, few of us have any ability to describe it. However, we do periodically find ourselves engaged in discourse in which our ideology is challenged. This is where the relationship between ideology and iconography becomes apparent. Our ideology enters our conscious awareness most directly in the form of our iconography; our icons are concrete symbols of our abstract ideological values. Since few of us are equipped linguistically to debate ideologies, we fall back on our icons. In a discursive battle of ideologies, we invoke our icons who stand metonymically for the ideology we embrace and defend.


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----- (1997b) THE BATTLE OF ICON AND CARICATURE. Unpublished paper presented at "Languaging: The 9th annual conference on linguistics and literature," University of North Texas, 8 February 1997.

----- (1998) Linguistic relativity as a function of ideological deixis. Unpublished paper presented at the 26th LAUD Symposium/Humboldt and Whorf revisited: universal and culture-specific conceptualizations in grammar and lexis, 3 April 1998.

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