Аксиология дискурса консюмеризма: о роли языковой оценки в жанре лайфстайл
The article takes a closer look at internet versions of popular men’s magazines vis-à-vis their double discursive function, i.e. as a means of legitimizing a broad array of social practices, on the one hand, and their more general role in shaping consumer identity, on the other. The study is informed by socio-cognitive approach in critical discourse analysis (CDA). It is contended that the key form of social cognition that can be drawn upon in both aforementioned functions is the concept of values, which can be understood in three basic ways – as normative beliefs, value concepts and personal values. The focus of linguistic analysis is the language of appraisal in two text instances recontextualizing two social practices, those of ‘grooming’ and ‘dating’. The first text evaluates the elements of the practice primarily in terms of ‘appreciation’ – one of the three semantic regions of appraisal; the other two being ‘affect’ and ‘judgement’. The second text evaluates specific ways of acting within the social practice of dating through deployment of language resources of judgement and affect. Following the analysis of text instances it is argued that discursive function of values can be seen as twofold. On the one hand, specific instances of appraisal in discourse invoke values (that have been interpreted and conceptualized elsewhere) to legitimize a certain social practice. Rhetorically this move can be interpreted as geared towards promoting and advertising specific goods and services which are being naturalized as an integral part of the legitimized practice. This is exemplified by the way the first text naturalizes the use of specific grooming products. Alternatively, this move can be interpreted as a way of promoting the magazine (and the whole genre) itself through building strong solidarity with the putative addressee – a strategy which is arguably instantiated by the second text. On the other hand discursive recontextualization of such practices can be seen as a ‘system of interpretation’ aimed at ad hoc (re)conceptualizing and (re)negotiating specific values – a process that may contribute to formation of new values on the part of the addressee through abstraction and decontextualization. All the above mentioned effects can be also interpreted in a broader CDA perspective as instances of reproducing social power. Specifically, they can be seen as reproducing the ideology of consumerism characterized by the so called commodification of all aspects of life and naturalization of consumer identity. In this respect the analyzed texts with their specific language usage effectively accommodate a consumer position for the putative addressee – a consumer of specific goods and services and a consumer of the magazine and the ‘lifestyle’ that it sells in general.