Friday, 23 September 2016

Misconstruing Bernstein's Coding Orientation As Ideology

Martin (1992: 581):
Perhaps the most that can be said at this stage is that from a synoptic perspective, ideology is a system of coding orientations which makes meaning selectively available depending on subjects' class, gender, ethnicity and generation.  Interpreted in these terms, all texts manifest, construe, renovate and symbolically realise ideology, just as they do language, register and genre.

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[1] This confusion of ideology with coding orientation fixes ideology to the social co-ordinates of language users.  It should be obvious that speakers with similar social co-ordinates can project very different ideologies, and that speakers with very different social co-ordinates can project very similar ideologies.

[2] This misunderstands Martin's own model of stratification.  Taking (meta)metaredundancy into account, the claim — in Martin's terms only — should be:
  • language (not text) realises the realisation of ideology in the realisation of genre in register.

[3] In SFL theory, the relation between texts and language, register and genre is neither manifestation, nor construal, nor renovation, nor symbolic realisation.  The relevant theoretical dimension, instead, is the vector of instantiation:
  • text is a point of variation at the instance pole of instantiation, 
  • register and genre are complementary perspectives on a midway point of variation on the cline of instantiation, and 
  • language is the entire cline, since each point on the cline is a perspective on language.

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