Topic 1: Introducing key concepts: language and power
Topic 2: Language and power in institutions and at a workplace
Topic 3: Language, power and media
Topic 4: Language, power and the law
Topic 5: Language, power and medicine
Topic 6: Language, power and business
Topic 7: Language, power and society



Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Develop a critical awareness of how language can be employed to enact, negotiate and contest power.
  2. Engage in the critical analysis of social issues, such as sexism, racism, oppression through examining the language and power interrelation in authentic institutional discourses.
  3. Apply the knowledge of how language can be both powerful and empowering to novel institutional settings.
  4. Develop a critical understanding of how language and power interact in various sociocultural contexts.
  5. Engage in group interaction and communicate their viewpoint by engaging in group discussions.



Study Load


Number of hours

Lectures (CPD LG-08)




Reading / Self-study


Assessment: Discussion forum


Assessment: Student projects


Assessment: In-class quiz







100% coursework

Assessment Method

Details of Assignment


Final project

The project will involve close engagement with authentic data, identifying and defining problems, locating relevant literature and communicating the results in a comprehensive and logical manner.


Tutorial participation





Required Reading

There will be no textbook for the course. All additional materials, including recommended readings, will be provided by the lectures in class.

Selected Recommended Readings

  • Cameron, D., Frazer, E., Harvey, P., Rampton, B., Richardson, K. (1992). Researching Language. Issues of Power and Method. London: Routledge.
  • Craddol, D., Boyd-Barrett, O. (eds.) (1994) Media Texts: Authors and Readers. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Fairclough, N. (1995). Media Discourse. London: Arnold.
  • Holmes J. (2006). Gendered talk at work: Constructing gender identity through workplace discourse. Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Mullany, L (2007). Gendered discourse in professional communication. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Sarangi, S. and M. Coulthard. (2000). Discourse and social life. Harlow, England: Longman.
  • Simpson, P. (1993). Language, Ideology and Point of View. London: Routledge.
  • Simpson, P. and A. Mayr (2010). Language and power: A resource book for students. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Scollon, R., Scollon Wong, S. (2003). Discourses in Place: Language in the Material World. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Thornborrow, J. (1999). Language and the media. In L. Thomas and S. Wareing (eds.) Language, Society and Power. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 49-64.
  • Thornborrow, J. (2002). Power talk: language and interaction in institutional discourse. Harlow, England: Longman.

You will also be introduced to a number of journals where research on language and power is published (e.g. Discourse and Society, Text and Talk) and on-line resources where you can obtain some additional information on the topics discussed in class.




Last updated: 8 July 2019