WP162 Post-panoptic standard language?



This paper follows Coupland (2010), who raises a number of doubts about the continuing power of standard English and its historic correlation with gradations of social class and linguistic insecurity, pointing instead to globalisation, to changes in social class structure and culture, and to individualisation and changing norms of self-presentation.? But the paper also locates the development of standard language in the processes of ?normalisation? described by Foucault in Discipline and Punish (1977), and it moves from there to discussions of power and control in a ?post-panoptic? era of neo-liberal globalisation, where the state operates more as ?gamekeeper? than ?gardener? (Bauman 1987), and the population is increasingly constituted as consumers, seduced into the market economy and profiled in digital surveillance that separates and tracks individuals for efficiency and risk prevention, generating a ?dual society? in which a hypercompetitive, fully networked zone coexists with a marginal sector of excluded low-achievers (Haggerty & Ericson 2000; Fraser 2003).? The study of language certainly forms part of these power/knowledge regimes, and may sometimes soften their harsher effects.? But in talking of ?resistance to the standard?, are we simply closing the barn door after the horse has bolted?