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Durham e-Theses
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The language of incipient opposition: the discourse of the party of democratic socialism in German politics 1989-1995

Denison, Marc Reginald (1997) The language of incipient opposition: the discourse of the party of democratic socialism in German politics 1989-1995. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This work explores how the PDS, as legal successor to the SED and thus to a party emanating from a Marxist tradition, has sought discursively to deal with the task of adapting to the demands of the all-German polity and of establishing a place for itself on the far left of the German political spectrum. Leaning heavily on the work of the critical linguists whose central interest was in exploring the relationship between language and ideology, this study starts from the premise that language and ideology inform one another dialectically: language is constitutive of ideology. As establishing and maintaining dominant ideologies and/or honing or adapting these in accordance with external exigencies is central to politics, the relationship between language and politics (and language and history) is likewise a dialectical one. A particular focus is upon the attempts of PDS party leaders and ideologues to establish a mediating, 'super-discourse' capable of smoothing over the high-level of intra-party factionalisation and of legitimising the PDS as broadly as possible in the political establishment. Opposition is a thematic leitmotiv: the PDS's historiographic portrayal of the SED's and its own relationship to opposition movements in the GDR and the Wendezeit is examined, as is the high-level of intra-party opposition and the linguistic staging of the inner-party polemic on whether the PDS's self-styled, extra- system, oppositional role will allow its inclusion in conventional governmental alliances. In addition, aspects of the language of the vociferous political opposition engendered and encountered by the PDS are also considered.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1997
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:52

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