An Iconography of Japanese Identity
Ken Tann [+–]
The University of Sydney
Ken Tann lectures at the University of Sydney on the application of linguistic research to identity issues in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. He adopts an interdisciplinary approach to discourse analysis, and his publications include work on both the English and Japanese languages, particularly in relation to nationalism and identity politics.
This volume shows that far from being the immutable properties of a primordial people, national identities are contextually constructed and evolved over time in response to historical contingencies. It also argues that explicit and situated textual analysis is essential to a truly social constructivist approach to identity.
An Iconography of Japanese Identity takes a cross disciplinary approach to identity construction, and draws on political and cultural studies to explore the construction of collective identities in mass media. A detailed examination of a range of popular bestsellers on Japanese identity, representative of different historical moments from the 1930s to the present, will be presented as a case study of national identity discourse. The book will examine the linguistic patterns that are used across these publications to construct a sense of community, communal values and cultural myths in relation to their respective contexts. It provides a detailed linguistic account of these three types of icons, using the explicit analytic tools developed in Systemic Functional Linguistics as well as the insights of Membership Categorization Analysis and identity theorists. Analyses are provided for both English and Japanese texts, and the analytical tools presented in this book are equally applicable to other forms of national identities.
Written for an audience with limited knowledge of Systemic Functional Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis, the volume will serve as a valuable reference book for postgraduate students and scholars in linguistics, media and Japanese studies.
Series: Text and Social Context
Table of Contents
This chapter introduces the popular bestsellers of Japanese identity discourses, and discusses the rhetorical tropes that characterize these publications, as well as their historical contexts. It then provides an overview of various theories about nationalism and critiques on these texts.
This chapter reviews the current understanding in identity theory, and drawing on the work in Japanese and cultural studies, identifies three types of linguistic resources for identity construction: Gemeinschaft that constructs a sense of community, Doxa that constructs shared values and Oracles that constructs shared histories.
This chapter introduces the SFL discourse semantic framework (Martin 1992, Martin and White 2005), and shows how they provide a detailed means for exploring the important issues identified by other traditions of analysis such as MCA and identity theories. It then argues for an SFL approach to analyzing identity discourse as set out in Tann (2010).
This chapter discusses the linguistic patterns that constitute Oracles, or the discursive construction of specific cultural heroes and heritage, and how these icons form part of national histories and myths.
This chapter discusses how those specific people and things are generalized as part of the greater community through the linguistic resource of Gemeinschaft, to establish boundaries around the community, by including and excluding readers.
Values we share [+–]
This chapter discusses how the community is bound and regulated through the linguistic construction of values and belief systems known as Doxa. It shows how these values serve as interpretive devices for anecdotes and cultural stories.
This chapter demonstrates how the three types of icons work together in discourse, and relates the use of these icons to the work of van Leeuwen (2008), to demonstrate how they are used to legitimize arguments and collective action.
This chapter relates the discursive iconography to identity theory (Hall 1997) and studies in sociology (Maton 2008; Martin, Maton and Matruglio 2010), to discuss how the linguistic resources affect social organization and shape readers’ subjectivity, as well as how the current framework can benefit further work in these two fields.
This chapter concludes the book by bringing together the various strands of argument from preceding chapters, highlighting the role of context in perpetuating stereotypes as well as evolving them.