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Language and Power in the Arab World

Alshaer, Atef (2012) 'Language and Power in the Arab World.' Middle East Critique . (Submitted)

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Abstract

This article aims to draw attention to the power of the use of language in the Arab world and how this power has marked epochs in the modern history of the region. It draws on current and past events and focuses on the words and slogans that defined them as well as the ideological content and socio-political conditions underlining them. In this paper, language is viewed as a dynamic force in human affairs, an embedded and an enabling power that negotiates and defines life in its intricate and its expansive contours. Though the article does not attempt an exhaustive list of phrases or slogans that have enduringly permeated the Arab landscape, it gives a representative sample of linguistic constructs from diverse political movements in the Middle East, especially those that pertain to secular and Islamist ideologies operating within the Arab sphere. In particular, the article sheds light on a sample of notable signal words and statements that defined the Arab revolutions, while explaining the socio-political and historical dimensions associated with them. The principal objective of this article is to present a dynamic reading of language in its social and political value in order to make it accessible to domesticated interpretation through pinpointing linguistic addresses to ideologies and social and political currents embedded in Arabic discourses.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Media and Film Studies
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
ISSN: 19436149
Depositing User: Atef Alshaer
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2012 08:44
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/14499

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