SAGE Journal Articles

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Fairclough, N. (2003). ‘Political correctness’: The politics of culture and language. Discourse & Society, 14(1), 17 – 28.

Abstract: In this article, I approach the controversy over `political correctness' (PC) in terms of three questions: a socio-historical question, a theoretical question and a political question as follows. (1) Why this apparently increasing focus in politics on achieving social and political change through changing culture and changing language - what has happened socially that can explain the `cultural turn' and the `language turn' in politics, in social and political theory, and in other domains of social practice? (2) How are we to understand the relationships among culture, language and other elements of social life and social practices - how are we to understand the relationship between change in culture and language, and social change? (3) For those who are politically committed to substantive social and political change (whether on the right or on the left), what place can a politics centred around culture and language have in a political strategy which is to have some chance of success? The article concludes with a discussion of strategies and tactics for contesting critiques of `PC'.