new books with EUP Press

Ruth Wodak ruth.wodak at UNIVIE.AC.AT
Fri Nov 12 15:08:56 UTC 1999

Dear All!
Teun suggested that we put out a summary of our new book which has been
published in Norman Faircloughs new series with EUP. Lilie and Norman will
also post a summary of their new book; Norman will post the aim and the
goals of the new series.
Our book just came out. We would be very happy for comments; also, please
make use of it in your teaching and tell us how it is accepted by students.
We are very grateful to Norman to have made such a translation possible - as
you all know, very few scholars read books which are not published in
English!; and to funding agencies in Austria who payed the translation.
Of course, we would be even more grateful if somebody would also find the
time to review the book!

Best Ruth, Rudi, Martin and Karin

>The Discursive Construction of National Identity
>Ruth Wodak, Rudolf de Cillia, Martin Reisigl, Karin Liebhart
>Translated by Angelika Hirsch and Richard Mitten
>October 1999, 240pp, Pb 0 7486 1080 1080 4 £18.95
>Edinburgh University Press, 22 George Square
>Edinburgh EH8 9LF, tel: 0131 650 4220, fax: 0131 662 0053, email:
>marketing at,
>The concept of nation as an imagined community has gained importance in the
>relevant literature during the last decade. Moreover, national identity has
also been viewed as a habitus. How do we construct national
>identities in discourse? Which topics, which discursive strategies and
>which linguistic devices are employed to construct national sameness and
>uniqueness on the one hand, and differences to other national collectives
>on the other hand. These questions are investigated in our study on the
>Austrian identity and nation. Taking several current social scientific
>approaches as a point of departure, we have developed a method of
>description and analysis which has applications beyond the discursive
>production of national identity in the specific Austrian example studied.
>By focusing particularly on the discursive construction of (national)
>sameness, this study has broken new ground in discourse-historical analysis
>which up to now has mainly been concerned with the analysis of the
>discursive construction of difference. Our findings suggest that discourses
>about nations and national identities rely at least on four types of
>discursive macro-strategies, namely on constructive strategies (aiming at
>the construction of national identities), preservative or justificatory
>strategies (aiming at the conservation and reproduction of national
>identities or narratives of identity), transformative strategies (aiming at
>the change of national identities) and destructive strategies (aiming at
>the dismantling of national identities). Depending on the context, one or
>another of the aspects connected with these strategies is brought into
>In the light of our discourse-historical analysis, the traditional
>ideal-typical models of the “Staatsnation” and the “Kulturnation” appear to
>be inappropriate for the description of a specific empirical nation state,
>on the assumption that the two concepts are strictly mutually exclusive.
>Both, state and culture almost always play a role in the construction of
>national identity, though in official discourse - exemplified by political
>commemorative speeches as well as by many press articles and political
>campaigns - culture is of slight importance. In semi-official and
>quasi-private discourse however - the data studied are group discussions
>and interviews - cultural ideas reaching to the imagination of a common
>descent and to ideas of an "innate nationality" come to the fore. Thus, our
>study reveals that the distinction between the two concepts of nation is
>best understood as illuminating differences in national self-image within
>one and the same nation state, strictly speaking, differences between
>different political and ideological orientations and affiliations within
>this state.

In this book, we have studied several different genres (speeches,
newspapers, focus groups, symbols and advertisements as well as interviews).
Through textual chains, these different public spaces are connected; and the
arguments and topoi are recontextualized from one genre to the next. Thus,
we are able to investigate the effects of official discourse on the private
sphere; and to understand how official slogans and ideologies are percieved
and transformed in different genres and public spaces.

The research is both very theoretically focused as well as empirically
founded. This relates to several other studies which were undertaken with
the discourse-historical approach. The ethnographic focus of our work, as
well as the interdisciplinary framework (and this is why we do research in
teams) allow for the broad range of data as well as for the complex

Research on national identities seems to be very important nowadays: we were
specifically interested in changes due to the participation of Austria in
the EU and also to changes due to a more and more globalizing world. The
very contradictory tendencies which emerge (nation states become more and
more important) are certainly true not only for Austria or Europe but also
for other parts of the world. And all of us are more and more confronted
with fragmented, contradictory and multiple identities. Identities are thus
context-dependent! This is true on a personal level, as well as for groups
or nations. Our whole book sets forward a new theoretical concept of
"identity" which relates and elaborates approaches by Denis Martin, Stuart
Hall, Leszek Kolakowski, Pierre Bourdieu and Paul Ricouer.
>The Authors:
>Ruth Wodak is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of
>Linguistics at the University of Vienna. She was lately awarded the
>Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers (1996). Widely published, her
>books (in English) include “Disorders of Discourse (1996)”, “Gender and
Discourse (1997)” , “Language, Power and Ideology (1989)” , "Approaches to
Text and Discourse" (in print, with Stefan Titscher, Michael Meyer and Eva
Vetter), Discourse and Discrimination" (in print, with Martin Reisigl) and
"Snapshots of an Emerging Organization" (with peter Munitgl and Gilbert
Weiss, in print).

>Rudolf de Cillia is Associate Professor at the University of Vienna and has
>published widely on foreign language didactics and on language, politics
>discourse analysis.

>Martin Reisigl is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at the University
>of Vienna and is a recipient of a research award from the Austrian Academy
>of Sciences. His publications include articles on the construction of
>national identity and on discourse and racism (Discourse and
Discrimination, with Ruth Wodak, in print)

>Karin Liebhart is a Researcher at the Austrian Institute of East and
>Southeast European Studies (Vienna). She has published articles on the
>discursive construction of Austrian identity.

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