Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

A Critical Discourse Review of Resistance Consciousness in the Language and Ideology of Social Change Project in Wole Soyinka's Political Discourse

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

A Critical Discourse Review of Resistance Consciousness in the Language and Ideology of Social Change Project in Wole Soyinka's Political Discourse

Article excerpt


This paper discusses resistance consciousness in the language and ideology of social change project in Wole Soyinka's political discourse. The discussion is aimed at examining Wole Soyinka's text production strategies in his non-fictional writings. These writings weave a web of resistance ideologies that are enacted to instantiate social change on the political sphere of postcolonial states. This means that Soyinka produces texts aimed at instigating resistance consciousness in text consumers. The paper identifies the text production process for engaging the mind of the text consumer as semioticisation. The objective of Wole Soyinka's non-fictional writings, therefore, is to arouse consciousness for social change through deliberate acts of resistance against the anti-democratic dispositions, especially among Nigerian politicians. In this paper, the critical discourse review of the resistance consciousness draws upon the theory and methodology of critical discourse analysis (CDA) propounded by Teun van Dijk (2002) and Norman Fairclough (1992) These theoretical approaches were complemented by Jacob Mey's (2001) critical pragmatic theory and Michael A. K. Halliday's (1985) systemic functional theory. The blend of the theories and methodologies gives the study an interdisciplinary outlook that facilitates the understanding of Wole Soyinka's deployment of linguistic devices such as metaphor, lexicalisation, passivisation and intertextuality to produce political discourse (text) that arouses resistance consciousness for enacting social change.

Keywords: text production, resistance, social change, linguistic devices, semioticisation

1. Introduction

Turning a searchlight on the critical discourse review of resistance consciousness in Wole Soyinka's language use in text production is a daunting task. Soyinka's instantiation of resistance as an ideology in his texts goes through a text production process that is usually targeted at influencing social change. The major problem the writer has concerned himself with is decolonisation and institution of democracy in the former European colonies in Africa. Nigeria was one of the British colonies and, since its independence in 1960, the country has been grappling with the task of installing a virile democratic system. The works of Wole Soyinka, especially his fictional writings, have exposed the reality that unless colonial cognitive influence on political thought is subverted, it would be difficult to institute decolonised democratic order. However, the voice against existing political structures that still have strands of their umbilical cords connected to the colonial masters' political thought patterns in Nigeria is more strident in the writer's non-fictional texts. The texts contain political discourses that foreground resistance as a dominant ideology. The resistance is a product of Wole Soyinka's text production process. The process deploys language deliberately to create social context that takes into consideration sociopolitical text consumption needs. It is at the level of text consumption that the writer's social project is located.

The writings of Soyinka have always been identified with revolt against existing political systems (Adeniran, 1994, p. 50). Available literature on his works shows that linguists and literary scholars of differing analytical and theoretical persuasions have had to engage the writer in order to demystify his language (Osakwe, 1992; Adejare, 1992; Adeniran, 1994; Ogunsiji, 2001). What is common to many of the works on Soyinka is the comment on the 'masculinity' of his linguistic structures and the deployment of uncommon imagery to represent thoughts on matters of political import in search of social change. Therefore, many have concluded that the writer's language does not belong to the linguistic repertoire of the common person. Soyinka's competence in the use of English has never been in contention but his struggles and revolts are constant thematic issues requiring the attention of text analysts (Ogunsiji, 2001). …

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