The Invisible Armada

Disentangling the language of hegemony: discursive struggle in the context of the New Cold War

This proposal, led by a group of Taiwan-based university professors and researchers, has two primary objectives. In the first place, it intends to show how the organs of the press can manufacture the figures of the ‘enemy’ and, with this aim in view, coin a rhetoric destined to set the norms of political and ideological correctness in the context of a new Cold War. This part of the project draws on a diversity of theoretical approaches, such as Michel Foucault’s analytics of discourse and police of statements (énoncés); the philosophical and theoretical premises of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s Discourse Theory (Hegemony and Socialist Strategy); and Victor Klemperer’s notes on the language of the Nazi regime and administration (LTI, Lingua Tertii Imperii, a Philologist’s Notebook).

A variety of media from different countries and continents are examined under these perspectives, with a particular emphasis on the jargons based on insults, erratic historical comparisons, blatant distortions of reality and history, and obsessive denunciation and demonisation of the ‘Other’. This research aims at analysing how the operation of construction of the ‘enemy’ articulates specific linguistic strategies and tactics, being run or led like a war. The research intends to show how media can specialise in instilling hate and prejudice into their readers’ minds, eventually consolidating harshly antagonistic—friend/foe—relations as the political imaginary of a ‘people’. This is what can be called politics of enmity and hostility based on the manipulation of language, the language of hegemony.

The second purpose of this project is to facilitate a platform for researchers to discuss and disseminate novel ideas and controversial issues (more or less related to our abovementioned rationale). Without losing the indispensable academic etiquette and scientific methodology, this space is open to the student community in a more accessible way than academic journals and other formats. Thus, we are open to disseminating short articles that are fragments of ongoing and larger projects, as well as to motivating novice researchers to write and receive feedback that contributes to future publications. Additionally, professors and postdoctoral researchers are participating in this project as editors with extensive experience in the publication and review of academic articles, in English and other languages. Thus, although the platform is open to any language, non-English speaking students are invited and encouraged to have the opportunity to practice and improve their skills in writing academic papers in English, to promote the publication of papers in international journals.