Many a true word spoken in jest: Visuele voorstellingspraktyke in Vlaamse moedertaaltaalhandboeke

  • A Engelbrecht
Keywords: hegemony, Flemish language textbook, Critical Discourse, Analysis, focus group discussion, representational practices, caricatures, thematic analysis

Abstract

Based on the assumption that textbooks could hardly be free from prejudice, cultural stereotyping and marginalising of the ‘other’, the purpose of this article is to determine the extent to which the reigning social and cultural order is fostered in a Flemish language textbook series. Mechanisms such as inclusions, exclusions, confusing representations, cultural codes, values, preferences and silences are investigated to determine the extent of stereotyping strategies in textbook caricatures. The data source for the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is constituted by a focus group discussion held in Flanders, discussing visual material in one textbook series, Vitaal. An insider perspective on representational practices projecting the (non-Western) ‘other’ was obtained through the discussion by Flemish participants, who are all involved in the educational sphere. The conceptual framework comprises an explication of concepts and theories on studies of implicit stereotyping, culture studies and visual antropology. Influential issues in the literature on textbook representation in Flanders over the past decade are also described. The data were analysed through the lens of CDA (Barton and Stygall 2002;1-27; Huckins 2004:1-15) and according to the thematic analysis procedure introduced by Braun and Clarke (2006). The findings show that the caricatures serve as ideological rhetoric of the dominant white group, projecting the ‘other’ as problematic, focusing on their country of origin rather than their well-being in their new country. Although humour conceals the cultural exclusion in the data set, the cultural codes in the visual material generalise the non-Western ‘other’ as either extremely religious or as fundamentally different.

Key terms: hegemony, Flemish language textbook, Critical Discourse, Analysis, focus group discussion, representational practices, caricatures, thematic analysis

The article is in Afrikaans.

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eISSN: 0259-9570