CONSTRUCTION OF СATEGORIES ‘STRENGTH’ AND ‘WEAKNESS’ IN RUSSIAN AND POLISH FOREIGN POLICY DISCOURSE

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Abstract


The study is part of the project aimed at revealing the mechanisms of discursive construction of international relations (IR). It examines the functions of the categories ‘strength’ and ‘weakness’ in discursive representations of states as political actors. The research draws on assumptions of social constructionism and CDA. The data include recent speeches by Russian and Polish Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The paper argues that the opposition ‘strength vs. weakness’ is essential in the construction of IR in discourse. We focus on how nation states and their qualities are represented in foreign policy discourse, and which of these qualities conceptualise the categories of strength and weakness. We demonstrate that the two categories constitute a relational pair; however, the category of strength is expressed more explicitly than that of ‘weakness’, and the axiological charge of ‘strength’ changes depending on the actor that it represents. An array of linguistic tools is employed in constructing the opposition, and, consequentially, the IR between the political actors. The paper suggests that social actors and their qualities can be viewed as social categories that are perpetually constructed and re-constructed in discourse. The research develops the theory of discourse and demonstrates how discourse analysis contributes to the study of social practices and helps interpret current social phenomena.


About the authors

TATIANA VIKTOROVNA DUBROVSKAYA

Penza State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: gynergy74@gmail.com
40 Krasnaya St., Penza, 440026, Russian Federation

Dr. Hab., Head of the English Language Department at Penza State University (Russia). Research interests: critical discourse analysis of political and mass media practices, legal linguistics, linguistic pragmatics, speech genres, discursive construction of international relations

AGNIESZKA SOWIŃSKA

Universidad Católica del Norte, Facultad de Humanidades; Nicolaus Copernicus University

Email: sowinska@umk.pl
1 W. Bojarskiego St., 87-100, Torun, Poland

PhD, Associate Professor at the Department of English, Nicolaus Copernicus University (Toruń, Poland) and at Académico, Escuela de Inglés, Universidad Católica del Norte (Antofagasta, Chile). Research interests: critical discourse analysis of political and mass media practices, linguistic pragmatics, communication in healthcare

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