Announcement: Workshop on ideological dimensions of space and spatial dimensions of ideology – Northumbria University

Workshop announcement

A workshop on Ideological Dimensions of Space and Spatial Dimensions of Ideology will take place Thursday 8th November, 11.00-14.00 in Lipman 027. Northumbria University. The idea is to have an informal meeting with a few short presentations and a more general discussion in the hope that something further can come out of this. Anyone who is interested, from any discipline and working with any genre/modality, is welcome. Please get in touch. More information below.

Participants so far

  • David Baines (Newcastle University)
  • Deborah Chambers (Newcastle University)
  • Sarah Dobell (Northumbria University)
  • Laura Filardo-Llamas (University of Valladolid)
  • Christopher Hart (Northumbria University)
  • Bertie Kaal (VU University Amsterdam)
  • Darren Kelsey (Newcastle University)
  • Monika Kopytowska (University of Lodz)
  • Simon McKerrell (Newcastle University)
  • John Richardson (Loughborough University)

Description and objectives

Space is a fundamental domain of cognition which plays an important part in structuring conceptual representations in other non-spatial domains (Levinson 2003). Starting from this “spatialisation of form” hypothesis (Lakoff 1987) it has been argued that discourse involves the construction of a mental space which functions as a basic cohesive element in the representation of social realities (Searle 2010) as entities, events and processes within the social world are organized relative to an ego-centric “deictic centre” (Chilton 2004, 2005). The geometric conceptualisations which underpin ideological and value-based positions in discourse can be mapped out “across space as coordinate correspondences on three fundamental dimensions” (Chilton 2005: 81): SPACE, TIME andMODALITY, or AXIOLOGY (cf. Cap 2010). This model of discourse analysis has been applied in various discursive contexts, including war-legitimising discourse (Cap 2006), political party representations (Kaal, in press), metaphorical depictions of threat in immigration discourse (Hart 2010), and the (de)construction of conflict and national memory (Filardo-Llamas 2010).

At the same time, the domain of space displays significant diversity in how it is structured in language and discourse (Levinson 2003). The topology of space offers variables across particular parameters of DISTANCE, DIRECTION, ORIENTATIONand MOTION (Langacker 2008) and Discourses exploit this “grammar” of space in different ways and to different ideological effects (Hart, forth.).

In this workshop we would like to address the basic (cognitive-linguistic) descriptive tools and methodological procedures for studying ideological variation in discursive constructions of space and spatially-construed constructions of social realities in discourse. We see this approach as offering fresh philosophical and analytical ground for Critical Discourse Analysis.

The workshop will be an informal meeting on Thursday 8th November 11.00-14.00 in Lipman 027. It will involve several short (12 minute) presentations and plenty of discussion. If you would like to participate and/or give a presentation please email Chris Hart ( Cross-disciplinary perspectives welcome


  • Cap, P. 2006. Legitimisation in Political Discourse: A Cross-Disciplinary Perspective on the Modern US War Rhetoric. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Cap, P. 2010. “Axiological aspects of proximization.” Journal of Pragmatics 42: 392-407.
  • Chilton, P. 2004. Analysing Political Discourse: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.
  • Chilton, P. 2005. “Discourse Space Theory: Geometry, brain and shifting viewpoints.” Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics 3: 78-116.
  • Filardo-Llamas, L. 2010. “Discourse worlds in Northern Ireland: The legitimisation of the 1998 agreement.” In K. Hayward and C. O’Donnell (eds.) Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution. Debating Peace in Northern Ireland. London: Routledge: 62-76.
  • Hart, C. 2010. Critical Discourse Analysis and Cognitive Science: New Perspectives on Immigration Discourse. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hart, C. forth. “Ideological dimensions of the grammar of space: Positioning strategies in text and image.”
  • Kaal, B. 2012 (in press) “Worldviews: Spatial ground for political reasoning in Dutch election manifestos”,CADAAD Journal 6 (1).
  • Levinson, S.C. 2003. Spatial Language and Cognition: Explorations in cognitive diversity. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Searle, J.R. 2010. Making the Social World: The structure of human civilization. Oxford: OUP.


Dr Christopher Hart
Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Linguistics
School of Arts and Social Sciences
Room 404b
Lipman Building
Northumbria University

Tel: 0191 227 4816

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