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Language and authenticity

Markova I (1997) Language and authenticity. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 27 (2-3), pp. 264-275.

Social scientists come to understand social psychological phenomena partly through their subjects’, or participants’, use of language. Despite that, the linguistic characteristics and the role of language in the study of such phenomena remains largely unexplored. For example, one learns about the individual and social identity, social representations, the self concept, shared knowledge and so on, from the ways such phenomena are verbalised. However, the dialogical, semantic and pragmatic features of the expressions of identities or representations are rarely the focus of attention of social scientists. I consider the relationship between language and social psychological phenomena to be of crucial impor- tance for the theoretical advancement of social psychology. Therefore, in this paper I wish to draw attention to the nature of this relationship through examining some aspects of what may be called authentic and inauthentic verbal expressions. My interest in these matters is related to our research, during the last few years, into the social representations of democracy in Central and East European post-communist countries (e.g. Moodie et al., 1995; Markova ´ et al., 1997). Social and political scientists and writers such as Simecka (1984), Havel (1992), Olshiansky (1989), have been persistently preoccupied with the breakdown of ethical principles and with the loss of identity due to the misuse of language in the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The topic is, of course, too big to be examined here adequately. Yet, it is my view that it is theoretically intriguing and practically relevant to be raised, even if not fully explored, in this paper.

Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour: Volume 27, Issue 2-3

Author(s)Markova, Ivana
Publication date30/06/1997
Publication date online09/10/2010
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
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