Analyzing ideological complexes from the perspective of modalities

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Modalities are fundamental in building, maintaining and contesting ideological systems. While modalities have been described as resources for constructing both representational and interpersonal aspects of reality and truth, the analytical focus has been on modalities as a relationship between authors, their texts and their audiences, i.e. on their interpersonal functions. Informed by a framework on modalities for discourse analyses of values, Hodge and Kress’s theory on ideological complexes and Fairclough’s three-dimensional conception of discourse, in this paper I develop a method for examining modalities as resources for building dominant and counter discourses. I use example excerpts that come from my research on Finnish equality discourses to build and demonstrate the method. The example texts were written by people who are differently positioned in relation to salient norms and institutions on gender/sex and sociability: people contacted through a national random sample, people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, and people with transgender experiences. The method allows not only for systematic examinations of how modalities function in ordering power-imbalanced interpersonal relations but also attends to an underexplored dimension dealing with how modalities work in ideological representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-751
Number of pages23
JournalText & Talk
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2018


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