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Taboo Language and the Politics of American Cultural Governance

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Item Summary

Title: Taboo Language and the Politics of American Cultural Governance
Authors: Troumbley, Rex
Issue Date: May 2015
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
Abstract: This dissertation project maps how interventions into bad language (writing with bad spelling and bad grammar) and taboo language (cursing, swearing, profanity, obscenity, and racial slurs) are used to create a national American culture which the United States claims to represent as a nation-state. As case studies, the project examines four domains of discourse and interventions: the creation of a standard American English with lexicographical and Victorian interventions into the discourse networks of U.S. print-capitalism, the juridical regulation of broadcast obscenity and hate speech, the medical treatment of people who curse uncontrollably (Tourette syndrome), and the technical regulation or algorithmic sorting of computer-mediated discourse. The project concludes conclude that as discourse has become increasingly mediated by electronics, methods of cultural governance are being augmented with digital tools like predictive keyboards and coercive ergonomics designed to steer users away from taboo subjects and towards state sanctioned political discourse. By studying interventions into taboo language, this project addresses the historical exercise of power which determines whose expressions count as politically eligible and who counts as a member of the American nation.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Political Science

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