Bennett, Joe (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis explores the use of the word chav in written discourse in Britain published between 2004 and 2008. Taking a critical social semiotic approach, it discusses how chav as a semiotic resource contributes to particular ways of using language to represent the world – Discourses – and to particular ways of using language to act on the world – Genres – suggesting that, though the word is far from homogenous in its use, it is consistently used to identify the public differences of Britain as a class society in terms of personal dispositions and choices, and in taking an ironic, stereotyped stance towards such differences. It is suggested that these tendencies can be viewed as ideological, as contributing to social domination and inequality. Chav is also found to be subject to a great deal of metalinguistic discussion, some of which serves to critique the above tendencies, but much of which does not.
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