The Disease of Language and the Language of Disease


in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 117

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262795
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753954 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Disease of Language and the Language of Disease

Show Summary Details


This chapter raises some of the interlinked matters that have been very much at issue in press, television, and the world wide web since September 11. First is the role of the imagination itself, and of the unimaginable, in experiencing and categorising what we have difficulty understanding, and its role in our coming to terms with and coping with difficult matters of any kind. Second are the social interaction processes of categorisation and re-categorisation. Third is the contribution to our understanding provided by attention to the play of tropes in social life, and to the importance of tropology to our anthropology. Fourth are the multitude of moral issues and their claim upon our actions and reactions: the morality present in religious fundamentalism, for example. But also now under intense and renewed debate is the morality of political assassination, of racial profiling, of the employ of weapons of mass destruction. And fifth, in all of this and everywhere we find the disease of reification/entification of our newly realised world historical problem, the increasing disparity of well being. These are the diseases of language investigated here.

Keywords: well being; social interaction; categorisation; re-categorisation; tropes; social life; tropology; morality; language; disease

Chapter.  20968 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at British Academy »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.