Deploying appraisal theory in otherness construction in a religious context
Feyisayo Ademola-Adeoye (University of Lagos)
Ayodeji Adedara (University Of Lagos)
Paper short abstract:
This paper seeks to adopt Appraisal Theory in analyzing evaluation in religious discourse, based on a corpus of purposively selected discursive data from Islamic and Christian contexts as well as from African Traditional Religion.
Paper long abstract:
Although today's world is now more interconnected than at any time in human history, owing to the emergence of ever more sophisticated communication gadgets which utilize the Internet, it is perhaps the case that the fabric of social cohesiveness has never worn thinner. This is mostly owing to the increasing ascendancy of extreme right-wing political ideology but also of insular religion, otherwise known as religious radicalism. However, also implicated in this disturbing state of affairs is the equally disruptive but far more subtle factor of normalized religious 'othering' which happens in linguistically - hence culturally - plural societies. Within the African context, the sub-Saharan part of the continent is well known for its fissures along ethnoreligious lines, frequently leading to wanton fatalities from strife and violence. Such conflicts in the region inevitably emanate from its history of colonization and cultural assimilation. Religion being a discursively constituted social practice, it would be necessary to re-examine the linguistic dimension of the social research on religion in present-day society, especially in light of the hope that more globalization should mean the advent of less insular societies. We therefore propose to adopt Appraisal Theory in analyzing evaluation in religious discourse, based on a corpus of purposively selected discursive data from Islamic and Christian contexts as well as from African Traditional Religion. We hope to examine, in the Nigerian situation at least, to what extent social cleavages are a reflection of the discursive construction of religion as a divisive force in modern times.