Publisher description for Political languages in the age of extremes / edited by Willibald Steinmetz.
Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog
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The short twentieth century was an age of total wars and aggressive ideological struggles. It was also an age of growing linguistic awareness in the political sphere. Communist, fascist, and Liberal regimes fought each other with violence as well as words, and verbal warfare became increasingly sophisticated. The regimes were supported by propaganda experts and took advantage of new mass media which facilitated the interplay of words, images, and sounds. Leaders and their propagandists used language to persuade followers, terrorize opponents, and annihilate enemies. Knowing how to adapt one's own use of language to changing political situations was of vital importance for everyone. In the Age of Extremes words could wield political power, but at another moment even a whisper could endanger one's life.
This volume explores the ways in which language served to create, uphold, subvert, or deflect political power in the Age of Extremes. The book is unusual in encouraging its readers to compare totalitarian and democratic regimes under this aspect. Moving beyond propaganda studies the book opens up a variety of perspectives. While some authors take a look from above and show how those in power succeeded, or failed, in policing the boundaries of what could be said, others investigate the strategies of those who attacked the rules of the powerful by promoting alternative concepts and counter-discourses. Finally, there are also essays on the experiences of those who simply tried to stay alive by presenting themselves in a flexible manner or preserving their own private languages in diaries, poems, or secret conversations.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Communication in politics -- History -- 20th century.
Language and languages -- Political aspects -- History -- 20th century.
Power (Social sciences) -- History -- 20th century.
Sociolinguistics -- History -- 20th century.