Language, gender and power relations in Swazi national courts: a discourse based analysis

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. A.M. Beukes and Prof. M. Pienaar en
dc.contributor.author Dlamini, Lindiwe Nkhosingiphile
dc.date.accessioned 2011-04-13T08:20:43Z
dc.date.available 2011-04-13T08:20:43Z
dc.date.issued 2011-04-13T08:20:43Z
dc.date.submitted 2009-05
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/3598
dc.description M.A. en
dc.description.abstract This dissertation examines the use of language and its implications on gender relations within the Swazi courts. Starting from the premise that language use is an important guide in understanding gender differences and differences in power between men and women, this dissertation investigates the language used by the different participants in court proceedings of selected court cases, particularly on offences that involve or otherwise touch on assault. The data is based on proceedings in two selected courts, one in Mbabane (an urban court) and the other in Lobamba (a semi urban court). Analysis is strengthened by an array of theories of gender and cultural studies. The major analytical methodology for this study is Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). The study ultimately locates itself within the line of gender studies on cultural influences, examining how lexical choices in linguistic discourses contribute to sustaining or subverting age-old ideas of manhood versus womanhood in Swaziland. The analysis leads to a conclusion that: (a) Women are viewed as docile and unchanging in terms of their interaction in the society. (b) Within the patriarchal Swazi context, the linguistic expectations of “good women” put them at a disadvantage when communicating with men. (c) Traditionalists have to shift from patriarchal values and integration of the Swazi custom with some of the positive ways in life borrowed from education, Christianity and other modernized institutions. If this is enforced then women would cease to be treated as doormats and marginalised by society. This gender imbalance is revealed in situations of contest. It not only draws on, but also engenders the already existing ideologies of strong and knowledgeable men versus weak and ignorant women, in part by muting the latter. This, in the researcher’s view, is worsened by the fact that such linguistic disempowerment takes place within the structures of the State such as the courts, whose authority can easily be mistaken for that of the men who function within them. Put differently, the connotations of power, authority, coercion and fear within the courts are reinforced when one half of participants are disadvantaged by cultural ideologies such as those of linguistic control. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Critical discourse analysis en
dc.subject Discourse analysis en
dc.subject Language and languages en
dc.subject Sex differences en
dc.subject Sexism en
dc.subject Sex discrimination against women en
dc.subject Courts in Swaziland en
dc.title Language, gender and power relations in Swazi national courts: a discourse based analysis en
dc.type Thesis en

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