Discourse: The Power of Language and Communication

Discourse: The Power of Language and Communication

How are social constructions like gender, race, and class reinforced through language? What psychological impact do certain words hold in society and in turn have an effect on an individual’s actions? What role does language play in preserving power for a select group of people? How is language used to desensitise us from inequalities?  

By starting to interrogate the use of language through various social institutions (educational, political, economic, family and religious) and media outlets, there then leaves space to analyse how the normalities of the use of language as an oppressive tool are intrinsically present through everyday instances.

This Terms of Reference will aim to explore and shed light on the different ways in which language contributes to real-life power disparities from the evolvement through etymology of certain words to how language functions through various social institutions. It will also address how it can be used in various ways to challenge some of the injustices that are embedded in everyday communication. It will address the different symbolisms of language through mainstream culture and the various ways that individuals and groups use communication to empower and call claims to justice . The work will include – but it is not limited to – the following topics:

  • Representations of certain words
  • Exploring sayings  
  • Language and ideology  
  • Exploring language through culture
  • Power disparities through language
  • Harmful uses of epithets
  • Integration of colour and language association to good/evil
  • Reinterpretations of language use
  • Racial, gender and class profiling/stereotypes
  • Accessibility of institutional use of language
  • Social construction of language use

Submission Guidelines: 

Submissions can be, but aren’t limited to:

Written pieces:
Please submit in MS Word format. We suggest that 500-800 words is the best length. Please also submit an image along side your work, this should be no less than 2000px wide and 300 dpi.

Visual Work:
Image should be no less than 2000px wide and 300dpi. We suggest that 3 – 6 images are best. Please clearly title images and attach captions and project blurb in a separate word document.

Please send an open link and blurb in a Word document.

Please send an open link and blurb in a Word document.


Please fill out the form here

Please note that the deadline is 03 March 2018