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date: 14 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the extent to which shifts in the understanding of power within a poststructuralist frame are compelling researchers to re-examine the relationships between language and power. In the light of current notions of power, such as those developed by Foucault, this chapter shows how new research questions and objects of study are emerging for sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, discourse analysis, and applied linguistics, among other research fields. The chapter focuses on five postulates about power and on the conditions research on power in relation to language should fulfill in order to take them into account. Starting with a critique of earlier approaches which tend to localize power in the state (e.g. linguistic policies), the chapter examines how subsequent contributions made by critical approaches in sociolinguistics and in discourse analyses have prepared the ground for a more fluid and dynamic understanding of the microphysics of power in relation to language.

Keywords: power, language, microphysics, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, linguistics

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