Wafaa Sahib Mehdi


Sexism is an act of discrimination against women as being different in a hierarchical level of superiority. It is a product of the dominant patriarchal ideologies. Such an act may appear in behaviours or practices the best illustration of which is by means of language. Under the umbrella of critical studies, critical pragmatics can unravel aspects of language abuse rather than language use. In this approach, the pragmatic theories are put under scrutiny to lay bare the hidden relations of power, ideology or dominance. In fact, the eclecticism between pragmatics and criticality has been first suggested by Mey (2001) who emphasizes the critical potential of pragmatics in linguistic analysis to unveil the social functioning of language. This study sets for itself the task of investigating sexism as a critical phenomenon in the political domain owing to the fact that it has not received its due attention within this approach. Precisely, it concerns itself with the manifestations of the subtle aspects of sexism in the American political contexts. Thus, it aims at finding out an answer to the following question: What are the pragmatic phenomena that are highly utilized to manifest the sexist ideology in the political discourse? In association with this aim, it is hypothesized that sexism is presented by utilizing certain speech acts, impoliteness strategies and referential expressions. To achieve the aim of the study and test its hypothesis, an analytical model is developed for conducting the critical pragmatic analysis of the data. Upon the critical pragmatic and statistical analyses, it appears that sexist people utilize the above mentioned pragmatic strategies that impart their sexism against women rivals.

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American politics, critical pragmatics, linguistic studies, sexism

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