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  • Titill er á ensku The Angry Male: A Conceptual Analysis of Language Use in the Men's Rights Movement
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  • This thesis is an investigation into the processes by which human beings adapt ideological viewpoints and construct identities entrenched in ideology. Modern identities are increasingly discussed as rhetorical realities, intersecting biological, psychological, and ideological definitions. Identity categories such as “male” or “female” are not merely biological signifiers, but have become ideological and performative standpoints in a societal debate. This stance-taking has been necessary in the fight for equality, and has led to the conceptualization of identities as semiotically defined, contingent on symbols and signifiers in the creation of comprehensive identity categories.
    This thesis seeks to explore some of the underlying semiotics of this identity creation and the theories that examine the human need for societal identity creation. Using theories from George Lakoff and Charles J. Fillmore, I will investigate the construction of conceptual frameworks, and the ways in which language is used to express and negotiate conceptual realities. The research focuses on the role of conceptual frameworks in the ongoing gender debate, and the manner in which masculinity in particular is conceptualized through language and serves as the dominant framework through which this debate is skewed. John Searle and Roland Barthes supply the foundation for a social construction of reality based on language in the form of speech acts, deontic power and mythologies. I investigate the application of this identity rhetoric in gendered subcultures, specifically the Men’s Rights Movement, and examine the societal factors that have led to the creation of this movement, the rhetoric involved and the stance that is being taken on women and the feminist movement. I will go into the social construction of gender and the power balances therein, focusing on the backlash perpetuated against the women’s rights movement in the past century. As much of this modern debate takes place in online places, Whitney Phillips’ work on online communities and the role of myth and storytelling as the foundations for online behavior will be used.
    A brief comment on the subject of identity. This is to be understood as a conceptual framework from which a person understands himself and the world. It is through reflective statements that this kind of identity is established. “I am a man” is in this view seen as reinforcing a certain sociological and deontic identity in relation to gender. These identity phrases reflecting the identity of the speaker can be overt, such as the previous example, or more subtle, such as “I’m a nice guy”, or “I’m a normal guy”. These are examples of identity creation through the use of conceptual frameworks, as these statements reference social values and roles. The issue of identity addressed in this thesis is, therefore, more an issue of self-perception and self-reference, rather than psychological profile. It is hypothesized that these statements reflect a conceptual framework from which a person elaborates socio-political stances, in accordance with the values embedded in the self-perception of the individual. Self-image, group membership, normalcy and deviance are therefore seen as the underlying factors in the creation of a conceptual identity, an identity created through the concepts one finds applicable to oneself.

  • 10.9.2018

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