CRITICS: On the globalizt'n of discourse

Carbo Perez Teresa-UACB carbo at
Wed Feb 14 00:23:51 UTC 1996

          About the globalisation of discursive practices

          Though I have not yet sent my self introduction to
colleagues in the CRITICS list, nor produced a brief report on
the proceedings of the mexican network of discourse analysts,
which I coordinate at present (as Teun asked me to do some time
ago, and I will indeed do), I would like to send right away my
reaction to the combined effect of N. Fairclough's proposal and
Teun's commentary on the "receiving" end of the processes of
globalisation that discursive practices are undoubtfully
experiencing the world over. I have no work done on the various
topics that can be addressed within the sketched framework. (My
experience lies in a national (Mexican) elite's political
discourse: mainly presidential and parliamentary).

          However, it is the case that for some years now a woman
friend of mine (Nora Lustig, economist at Brookings Institution,
Washington D.C.) and I have been observing with considerable
interest the various ways in which the economic discourse of
international funding agencies, such as the World Bank or the
International Monetary Fund (and their always conditioned
assistance to Third World countries), has become a pervasive
presence in everyday journalistic discourse in those countries,
and even in domestic lay conversations. Extremely technical terms
(ajuste, reforma estructural, desincorporacion, deficit fiscal,
reduccion del gasto social, adelgazamiento del estado, among
others, in Spanish) can be overheard practically everywhere
today, at least in Mexico and Argentina, which are the two
countries we have experience with and would be interested in
systematically observing if a joint research initiative is to
emerge from this initial discussion.

          It is not in the least only lexicon I am referring to,
but rather to a whole approach to economic issues which
invalidates through invisibilisation (Tove Skutnabb-Kangas) the
intense and immense suffering that is imposed on the great
majority of the population through a discursive (and of course
political) treatment of those topics which is, above all,
technical, verbose, abstract and allied to mistifying power
practices from beaurocratic groups in office. Its flow across
class boundaries, for instance, has been amazingly rapid. Nora
Lustig and I have commented on the success of this discursive
practices with particular anger, as an added offense to the human
cost that economic neo-liberalism has imposed on our countries,
and had more or less played with the idea of its study. The
concept of imperialism is still, I think, quite relevant. As is
the problem of direction.

          So, if these ideas somehow fit in the proposed
initiative, we would be definitely interested in some form of
collaborative research. Thanks.

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