From Unwanted to So-Called Expertise: Ideologizing Sociolinguistics in Mainstream Media

Jürgen Jaspers

This article discusses how expertise over language is reconfigured in mainstream media. Based on two different cases, it describes how journalists’ and sociolinguists’ conflicting interests can lead to unwanted attributions of expertise or to the staging of sociolinguists as so-called experts, useful as a foil for redefining what is viewed as more reasonable knowledge over language. Rather than proposing that such altercations illustrate the plight of honest scientists, however, I will argue that they offer the necessary building blocks for developing a better understanding of the transactions between experts and media in late-modernity.

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