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  • 1.
    Ekman, Linus
    et al.
    Swedish Migration Agency, Sweden.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    The many feminist voices of the radical right: An actor-oriented study of the Sweden Democrats’ conception of equality2017In: HumaNetten, E-ISSN 1403-2279, no 38, p. 82-96Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Sweden Democrats (SD) was the first radical right populist party (RRPP) to be elected to the Swedish Parliament in 2010, and today it is an established and important force in Swedish politics. The SD have the lowest proportion of female members of all parties in the Swedish Parliament, and also retain the view that there are biological and cognitive differences that affect men’s and women’s roles in society. There is, however, a growing tendency to emphasize the need for gender equality and even feminism in the party. Previous research (Mulinari & Neergaard 2013; Towns, Karlsson & Eyre 2014) has dismissed these attempts as rhetorical duplicity aiming at constructing immigrants as an out-group. In this paper we analyse interviews conducted with women representatives of the SD in local, regional and national assemblies. By mapping ideas about gender and equality and by identifying the ontological scales on which they exist, we paint a picture of a party with a dynamic and sometimes contradictory understanding of gender equality. Several gender equality discourses co-exist in SD ideology, but their inconsistency is caused by changes in context rather than by purposeful ambiguity.

  • 2.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Political Text and Images: The case of the far-right British National Party2014In: Book of Abstracts: The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS-2014) September 25-27, 2014 Lund University, 2014, p. 83-84Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    There is today a growing interest in integrating theories and models subsumed under the label Cognitive Linguistics with critical approaches to discourse. Recently, Hart (2011a, 2011b, 2013) has broken new ground by combining theories of Cognitive Linguistics (Croft & Cruse, 2004; Langacker, 1987; Talmy, 1988) with Critical Discourse Analysis (see e.g. Meyer & Wodak, 2009). This has rendered critical enquiries more systematic and helped us understand the cognitive underpinning of powerful language, but such approaches often focus on text rather than image.

    This paper presents an analysis of the use of images in political texts published by the extreme-right nationalist British National Party (BNP). The BNP is to date the most successful extreme-right party in British electoral history and the only one to have been represented in the European Parliament. The BNP also pioneered the use of multimodal features in political online material where the different semiotic resources also clearly have different functions (see Copsey, 2008 and Goodwin, 2011 for general accounts of the BNP).

    This case study complements Hart’s (2013) approach with blending theory (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002) in order to better understand how the BNP constructs what is traditionally called in-groups and out-groups using text and images. The analysis is aided by corpus linguistics methods, which allows for systematic and rigorous annotation of relations between semiotic forms and underpinning cognitive processes. By focusing on the interaction of text and image in news articles published by the BNP, this paper argues that the party has pioneered the aestheticization of the far-right and that BNP images express what cannot be expressed using words. Furthermore, using blending theory, it is argued that BNP adversaries are not so much real social actors as synthetic hate objects emerging from a generic mental space of enmity.

    The findings of this paper have important implications for our understanding of group formation and can be generalized to other forms of right-wing and nationalist parties. By combining blending theory and critical approaches, we can study the construction of political enmity and out-groups and thus dismantle arguments used against these “enemies”. Furthermore, as an empirically oriented form of the emerging field of Cognitive Semiotics, the methodological synthesis presented here suggests one way in which cognitive theories can be applied to matters of rising social concern.

  • 3.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    Speaking of Europe: Approaches to Complexity in European Political Discourse2016In: Discourse & Communication, ISSN 1750-4813, E-ISSN 1750-4821, Vol. 10, no 4, p. 431-433Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    The Body Politic of Independent Scotland: National personification and metaphor as ideological visions2018In: Metaphor and the Social World, ISSN 2210-4070, E-ISSN 2210-4097, Vol. 8, no 2, p. 184-206Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     The creation of national personifications is a political act that informs us about ideological and cognitive strategies underpinning nation-building. Many European nations are associated with national personifications, but Scotland stands out by not having a tradition of representing the nation in this way. The 2014 independence referendum began to change that, and national personifications featured, not only in the main pro-independence campaign material, but in the visual profile of many new, radical organizations. These personifications also raise questions about the use of metaphor in political discourse. By combining multimodal metaphor and metonymy analysis with interviews with artists who have designed Scottish personifications for the independence movement, this article investigates how new Scottish body politic metaphors were constructed during the campaign. This methodology increases our understanding of the wider context of the referendum, and aids the interpretation of national personifications by providing arguments for interpretation. The analysis shows that body politic metaphors used in the campaign draw on traditional Scottish symbols, but traditional body politic metaphor types are subverted, typically concerning gender roles, in order to convey messages that are relevant in a contemporary political landscape.

  • 5.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    The (dis)continuation of Scottish nationalism?: A discursive comparison of the Scottish National Party and National Collective2018In: Journal of Political Ideologies, ISSN 1356-9317, E-ISSN 1469-9613, Vol. 23, no 1, p. 97-115Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Scottish independence referendum in 2014 was propelled by the Scottish National Party (SNP), but the referendum also saw the emergence of a plethora of pro-independence groups. One of the most prominent was National Collective (NC), a cultural movement emphasizing the empowerment of the younger electorate. NC has been described as part of a radical pro-independence movement, heralding the end of the nationalist hegemony and the arrival of a new post-nationalist politics in Scotland. This article investigates that claim from a political discourse perspective by analysing interviews conducted with NC and SNP representatives. The analysis of the interview data is framed by Gorski’s conception of nationalism as discourse and mobilization, and the ideological presentation of these two organizations are analysed by drawing on Freeden’s morphological approach. The findings suggest a great degree of discursive overlap between NC and the SNP but wide divergences in terms of imagined recipient scope.

  • 6.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    The Online Visual Group Formation of the Far Right: A Cognitive-Historical Case Study of the British National Party2014In: The public journal of semiotics, ISSN 1918-9907, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 1-21Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article investigates how the European far right, exemplified by the British National Party (BNP) uses images and other semiotic resources in online group formation. The data consists of a corpus containing all images occurring in articles published on the BNP website between May 2010 and March 2012. Flag elements are used as entry point to the analysis due to their high frequency in the corpus. The article proposes a cognitive-historical approach to Critical Discourse Analysis drawing on Cognitive Linguistics and the Discourse-Historical Approach. The analysis shows that images in BNP articles are not merely accessory features to text but that they send out ideological messages on their own and that they to a certain degree express what cannot be said using text. Flag images show how the BNP has undergone a visual transformation in the last decade, but also that the party constructs out-groups with anti-left and Islamophobic undertones.

  • 7.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    The Scottish Independence Referendum and the Myth of Successful Small States2016In: Linguistics and the human sciences, ISSN 1742-2906, E-ISSN 1743-1662, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 47-66Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2013 the Scottish government launched its flagship publication, Scotland’s Future, intended to mobilize the electorate to vote for independence. A particularly salient feature of this document is the large number of references to small northern European countries. Combining theories of cognitive linguistics with a discursive approach to political myth, this article argues that Scotland’s Future employs the political myth of national rebirth in tandem with the construction of small European countries as democratic role models. This results in a mythical conception of small states, here referred to as the myth of successful small states. This myth is then used to legitimate the Scottish government’s policies that are conveyed to the Scottish  lectorate.

  • 8.
    Engström, Robin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    The Scottish National Party and the Successful Small States: A Cognitive Linguistic investigation of national references in the SNP white paper2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 9.
    Engström, Robin
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    Ekman, Linus
    Swedish Migration Agency, Sweden.
    The Many Feminist Voices of the Radical Right: An actor-oriented study of the Sweden Democrats’ conception of equality2015In: The 9th Nordic Conference on Language and Gender, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Sweden Democrats (SD) was the first radical right populist party (RRPP) to be elected to the Swedish Parliament in 2010, and today it is an established and important force in Swedish politics. The SD have the lowest proportion of female members of all parties in the Swedish Parliament, and also retain a traditionalist view that there are biological and cognitive differences that affect men’s and women’s roles in society. There is, however, a growing tendency to emphasize the need for equality and even feminism in the party. Previous research has dismissed this as rhetorical duplicity aiming at defining immigrants as an out-group. In this paper we analyse interviews conducted with women representative for the SD in local, regional and national assemblies. By mapping ideas about gender and equality and by identifying the ontological scales on which they occur, we paint a picture of a party with a dynamic and sometimes contradictory understanding of equality. Several equality discourses co-exist in SD ideology, but their use is the result of contextual application rather than purposeful ambiguity.

  • 10.
    Engström, Robin
    et al.
    Lund University.
    Paradis, Carita
    Lund University.
    The In-group and Out-groups of the British National Party and the UK Independence Party: A Corpus-Based Discourse-Historical Analysis2015In: Journal of Language and Politics, ISSN 1569-2159, E-ISSN 1569-9862, Vol. 14, no 4, p. 501-527Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article investigates the self-presentation and the construction of immigration discourses in articles and policy documents published by the British National Party (BNP) and the UK Independence Party (UKIP). By combining corpus analysis with the Discourse-Historical Approach to Critical Discourse Analysis, a picture emerges of two parties whose use of language is governed by the same principle of differentiation. Fundamental to the BNP’s and UKIP’s language is the dichotomy in-group/out-group. The in-group analysis investigates the parties’ choice of form of self-representation, claims to unique competence, denial of attributes and mutual perception. The out-group analysis shows how the parties construct immigration, and focuses on the aspects of legal status, quantification and origin. The analyses suggest considerable lexical and conceptual overlapping in both in-group and out-group formation.

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