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A critical social semiotic study of the word chav in British written public discourse, 2004-8

Bennett, Joe (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

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.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Caldas-Coulthard, Carmen Rosa
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of English
Subjects:P Philology. Linguistics
PE English
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1485
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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