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Series: Series in Communication

The Dark Side of Speech

A Disenchanted Report on the Decade that Preceded the Invasion of Ukraine

Carlo Penco, University of Genoa, Italy

ISBN: 978-1-64889-854-9
Availability: Forthcoming
636pp. ¦ $91 £73 €85

What is disinformation, and why does it matter? How can we understand and detect different kinds of disinformation? With an analysis of relevant events of the period 2012-2022, the book attempts to answer these questions. The book is organized into four parts. (1) The first part presents the notions of post-truth and fake news using some of the most recent critical studies, analyzing some typical examples and the environment in which some of them originated. (2) The second part introduces the notion of conspiracy theory and describes the emergence of the idea of white supremacy and its ramifications, together with the narratives developed during the COVID restrictions. (3) The third part describes the emergence of the algorithms behind social networks and their role in propaganda, making examples of US and European elections and the Brexit referendum. An analysis of 'Cambridge Analytica' shows the tip of an iceberg of disinformation that is spreading around the world. Some remarks by comedians and philosophers help to give a new view on the concept of freedom of speech, with particular attention to the more and more difficult freedom of the press. (4) The fourth part gives some “emergency tools” for detecting disinformation at an individual level, understanding the most hidden mechanisms of disinformation, and the biases that almost unavoidably enter our minds. These tools come from the results both of traditional theories and the most recent social philosophy of language, not despising references to statistics. This is a fundamental book for having a general survey of this period of political turmoil, consulting a wide list of references and official documents, and having a grasp of the means of intellectual self-defense. “This book is non-standard: it relies on the most sophisticated theories of language and yet it gives everything in simple and colloquial language. Differently from sophisticated analyses of linguistic phenomena, it gives the feeling of participating in a tour around what happened in the last decade, with a disenchanted eye that uses some results of the critical literature, without compelling one to become a theoretician in the field of philosophy or critical analysis. The hidden focus of the book is freedom of speech and freedom of thought, and what they mean today in an era of more sophisticated and widespread disinformation permitted by the algorithms governing social networks. ….”

The History of Domestication of Speech

Kazım Tolga Gürel

February 2024 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-818-1
Availability: In stock
142pp. ¦ $55 £44 €52

Throughout history, speech has been forbidden or at least restricted to the laboring classes. Enslaved people laboring in ancient Egypt or working on Latin American plantations were forbidden to speak during work. In the early period of nation-states, the language of many peoples was forbidden because of the sovereignty of the lingua franca. Censorship has taken various forms in the history of all states. Talk amongst the laboring classes could lead to revolt and revolution; for this reason, speech was restricted during the harshest periods of labor. However, speech could be commercialized and reproduced in a society where all individuals were atomized entirely and isolated, in an environment where meaning was almost lost. In short, speech was supervised and controlled for the oppressed until the second half of the 20th century. However, especially in the postmodern period, speech has been supported at every point and subjected to significant inflation as if it were detached from meaningfulness. The pressures previously placed on the speech of workers and marginalized groups have suddenly diminished; speech everywhere has been commercialized and reproduced. This book analyses the causes of this evolution.

Advances in Brand Semiotics & Discourse Analysis

Edited by George Rossolatos

December 2022 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-591-3
Availability: In stock
258pp. ¦ $87 £72 €83

This volume addresses some of the most important conceptual, methodological, and empirical challenges and opportunities with which the sister disciplines of semiotics and discourse analysis are mutually confronted in the context of considering new avenues of cross-disciplinary application to distinctive branding research streams. In continuation of the collective volume 'Handbook of Brand Semiotics' (Kassel University Press, 2015), which sought to consolidate relevant scholarship and to identify the main territories that have been established at the cross-roads between branding and semiotic research, the current 'Advances in Brand Semiotics & Discourse Analysis' aims at accomplishing further strides in critical areas, such as the exigency for reconsidering the aptness of existing semiotic theories in the face of the radically shifting co-creative landscape of digital branding, the benefits of systematically micro-analyzing brand communities’ discourses by drawing on CAQDAS programs, the combination of big data analytics with discourse theory in corpus analysis, and the epistemological issues that emerge while combining discourse analysis with time-hallowed marketing qualitative and quantitative research methods. At the same time, the volume hosts a resourceful blend of empirical studies and novel conceptual frameworks in burgeoning streams, such as place, heritage, culinary, personal, and political branding.

Re/Thinking Chickens: The Discourse around Chicken Farming in British Newspapers and Campaigners’ Magazines, 1982 - 2016

Elena Lazutkaite, University of Nottingham

August 2020 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-012-3
Availability: In stock
274pp. ¦ $63 £47 €54

"Re/Thinking Chickens: The Discourse around Chicken Farming in British Newspapers and Campaigners’ Magazines, 1982–2016" has major social relevance as it focuses on one of the most forgotten and yet most exploited farmed animals, chickens, who now have a combined mass exceeding that of all other birds on Earth. Dr Elena Lazutkaitė demonstrates that the planet’s most numerous birds, with a population of 23 billion at any one time, are trivialised in public discourse. This book applies the analytical framework of Critical Discourse Analysis in combination with corpus linguistics tools to present a detailed empirical case study. In total, the study corpus comprises 1754 texts published over the period of 34 years in broadsheets The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph, tabloids the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail (including their Sunday editions Sunday Mirror and Mail on Sunday) and magazines produced by animal advocacy groups Compassion In World Farming and Animal Aid. This book will be of particular interest to university students of critical animal studies, human-animal studies, discourse studies, cultural studies, communication studies, sociology, (eco)linguistics, in addition to animal advocacy groups and media practitioners.

The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning

Everyday Empowerment and Likeability

Gavin F. Hurley, Ave Maria University

April 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-274-6
Availability: In stock
190pp. ¦ $58 £41 €47

'The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning: Everyday Empowerment and Likeability' provides an easy, practical guide to the strategies of persuasive reasoning, which Gavin Hurley argues is crucial to all effective communication. Helping professionals and students to become better and more likeable communicators, this fundamental “playbook” outlines numerous eye-opening communicative maneuvers for readers of all levels and backgrounds. It offers a unique approach to argumentation and persuasion and moves away from the more conventional methods which are often overtechnical, unnecessarily complex or too science oriented. Hurley demonstrates how to successfully apply these strategies of cooperative argumentation to your life in order to succeed professionally, socially and cerebrally. This he argues, will allow you to empower your messaging and increase your social magnetism. 'The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning' is a down-to-earth guide on effective rhetorical strategizing. It is written for everyday application, based on everyday examples, and embedded in everyday language. Today, successful communication is a highly sought-after trait by international employers, clients, and customers alike. Gavin Hurley shows how a wide range of people can benefit from learning how to deliver more abstract material in an effective manner: both verbally and written. This guide is particularly appealing for professionals, including business managers, as well as academics and students, including public intellectuals. 'The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning' is a useful book for anyone wanting to enrich their skills and strengthen their powers of communication in order to have a social and professional advantage.

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