Taking an Elitist Stance

Adam Jaworski and Crispin Thurlow

in Stance

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780195331646
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199867974 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics

Taking an Elitist Stance

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This chapter examines elitism as a stance as it is accomplished in travel sections of two British weekend newspapers aimed at middle-class, affluent readership—The Sunday Times and The Guardian—and demonstrate how the alignment positions and relations of superiority (and inferiority) are constructed in these texts through a number of discursive moves and devices: negative Other—evaluation (e.g. expressing disdain for ‘mass’ tourists and locals); positive Self-evaluation (e.g. claiming celebrity cachet; power/knowledge); creating ‘exclusive’ lists of knowable, desirable attractions expressed in the superlative (e.g. ‘Best of…’ lists); endorsing conspicuous consumption through excess, (self—)indulgence and service; claiming cultural capital through displays of ‘good taste’, spirituality and intertextual links to high-status texts and references (e.g., Hollywood films/ celebrity), and so on. This chapter argues that in elitist stance-taking the evaluation is made through a claim to both distinction and superiority. In functional terms, it therefore define stance-taking as simultaneously instantiating ideology, establishing interpersonal footing, styling the speaker/writer, and stylizing the second party hearer/reader and sometimes a third party who may or may not be present. Stance is thus an act of social Self- and Other-identification.

Keywords: elitism; stance; stance-taking; tourism; mobility; luxury; discourse; ideology; newspapers; travelogues

Chapter.  14764 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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