Hegemony, Nationalism and Doxa: A Social Semiotic Analysis
17 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 12, 2012
Since the end of the Second World War, successive governments in the United States have mobilized the U.S. population and the resources of the country in pursuit of global hegemony, first, in the context of a ‘defensive’ Cold War, then in the construction of a New World Order, and presently in the various actions comprising a Global War on Terror (GWOT). In order to successfully elicit the compliance and participation of the U.S. population in perpetual warfare, institutions, technologies and practices must be established to produce and reproduce support of, or at least acquiescence to, the ongoing policy of global hegemony and the warfare used to pursue and sustain it. An examination of such technologies and practices, produced as pedagogical resources and linked to public school web pages, is offered here, theoretically grounded with reference to both Vygotsky’s work connecting ideological structures and the development of human consciousness (Wertsch 1995), and Bourdieu’s insights on “habitus” and “doxa” (Bourdieu 1990). Specifically, a multimodal analysis of narratives embedded within private and government Veterans Day materials and activity templates linked to public schools is presented in terms of 1) the devices which produce profluence (narrative flow, expectations and evaluation, Scollon 2010), 2) chronotope (space-time-person configuration, Bakhtin, 1981), 3) the arrangement and composition of text, images and layout (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996), and 4) the motive structure (Burke 1969). Close examination of these mediational means and practices provides insight into the social semiotic processes serving to produce attitudes and dispositions in children, carried into adulthood, that take perpetual warfare as naturalized, or doxic, and in so doing, reproduce popular acceptance of global hegemonic policy and its consequences.
Keywords: Social Semiotics, Nationalism, Militarism
JEL Classification: N40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation