AbstractThis article employs an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate the role of the political slogan in Communist Czechoslovakia, with reference to Bakhtin’s concept of hierarchically superior texts, as developed by Alexei Yurchak and Michal Pullmann. It argues that the slogan performed a much wider range of temporally specific functions than has been generally recognized, and that its repetitive and ritualistic character had a major psychological effect on people’s memory and perception of reality (see C. Atkinson and R.M. Shiffrin, and David I. Kertzer). A clear distinction is drawn between denotative and connotative meaning, with detailed attention paid to J.L. Austin’s speech act theory, as elaborated by John R. Searle. The first two sections of the article define the concept and the functions of the ‘political slogan’, with special significance accorded to the use of language to establish a binary opposition between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (à la John B. Thompson’s notion of fragmentation). The third part identifies the sources and methodology adopted, and lists the principal word tokens identified. Following a brief contextualization of the slogan in the next section, the main body of the study uses corpus-assisted statistical analysis to evaluate the development of different thematic, lexical and semantic referents over three broad time spans (1948 to the mid-1950s, the mid-1950s to 1968, and 1969 to 1989).
CitationThe Political Slogan in Communist Czechoslovakia (1948–89) 2018:1 Central Europe
PublisherTaylor & Francis
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