The Discursive Ecology of Homophobia: Unraveling Anti-LGBTQ Speech on the European Far Right

Author: Eric Louis Russell

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Multilingual Matters
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210mm x 148mm

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Through an analysis of the discourse practices of populist Far Right groups in France, Italy and Belgian Flanders, this book makes a ground-breaking contribution to our understanding of the ways in which homophobic discourse functions. It proposes an innovative heuristic for the conceiving of the interplay of language, context and culture: discourse ecology. The author brings linguistic theories, methods and ways of understanding and thinking about language to a study of the overt and covert homophobic discourses of three non-Anglophone populist movements, and grounds the interpretation of such practices in observable data. In doing so the book encourages us all to reconsider the power we give language in our activism and scholarship, as well as in our private lives.

This innovative book, exploring homophobic discourse in three different Western European communities in order to reveal the linguistic engines that power it, is a valuable contribution to a growing body of literature. Asking and answering the deceptively complex question of what makes homophobic discourse homophobic, Russell's unflinching analysis exposes homophobia's linguistic mechanics in a work that is both socially relevant and intellectually rigorous.

Holly R. Cashman, University of New Hampshire, USA

This book is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on the relationship between language, discourse and sexuality. Russell engages with crucial social issues linked to the discursive construction of homophobia, offering an extensive array of resources and, more importantly, a framework for culturally uncovering forms of homophobia in discourse. Comprehensive in its scope, erudite, and accessible in its style, the book will undoubtedly be of interest to scholars and students of communication and language studies.

Giuseppe Balirano, University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy

Through painstakingly detailed linguistic analysis, this book offers timely and important insights into the ways in which homophobia takes shape in different languages and circulates in and through a variety of contexts. A highly recommended read for students and academics interested in the role played by language in social processes.

Tommaso M. Milani, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Russell takes great care to demonstrate that homophobia is a hydra-headed foe.
There is no singular way through which anti-LGBTQ animus manifests across languages anymore than there is a politically monolithic European far right. Opponents of hate speech and populist rhetoric must hone their counterarguments accordingly.

Language in Society 49

Eric Louis Russell is Associate Professor in the Department of French and Italian, and affiliated faculty in the Linguistics Program at the University of California, Davis, USA. His research interests include linguistic analysis of discourse and cultural praxes, focusing on sexualities/gender, particularly the forms and structures of masculinities, prejudices, and hegemonies.


Chapter 1.  Hate and Language, Hate in Language: (Re)Considering Homophobic Discourse

Chapter 2.  The Ecology of Homophobic Speech: Unraveling Discourse Practice   

Chapter 3.  Les Hommen: 'Muscled Resistance' and Misogynistic Homophobia    

Chapter 4. Le Sentinelle in Piedi: Naturalizing (and Denying) Homophobia             

Chapter 5. Filip Dewinter: Pinkwashing, Populism, and Nativism 


Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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