Tuesday, August 24

Rockridge Institute - Lakoff course on Cognitive Framing

Progressive intellectuals should definitely check out the work of the Rockridge Institute , which has a plethora of interesting essays and links to a variety of topics. I'll be linking Lettrist to them in the future.

Professor George Lakoff is teaching a graduate seminar in the Fall I've included below, and due to the importance of the topics, I'll be posting the some of the course readings and class links throughout the coming semester. His books should be required reading for all concerned with contemporary American political discourse.

Language, Thought, and Politics:
The Framing of Issues in the 2004 Election

George Lakoff

This is a graduate course (advanced undergrads with appropriate backgrounds welcome) that goes systematically through the mechanisms of mind and language used in political discourse - in policy-making, advocacy, and in political language.

The purpose of the course is to make students aware of how issues are currently framed, both conceptually and linguistically.

Since there will be a major election in progress, the course will take the day-to-day electoral discussions as part of its subject matter. Students will be expected to be up on politics in general and on the election in particular - to be reading at least one of the major newspapers per day.

The course is intended for a number of audiences: Specialists in one of the social sciences, social advocates and activists, journalists, policy makers, linguists, and cognitive scientists.

Some topics:
… Basic cognitive mechanisms: Frames, metaphors, prototypes, blends; Complex frames, deep frames, communicative frames, discourse frames.
… The structure of political conceptual systems.
… Liberal and conservative conceptual systems.
… Values
… How to decompose a policy into its frames and metaphors.
… Cognitive gaps in political conceptual systems and the process of filling them in.
… Strategic initiatives, slippery slope initiatives, and wedge issues.
… The difference between honest framing, spin, misleading language, and effective communicative framing.

Texts: Lakoff, G., Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think.

Lakoff, G., Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate
(available for order September 8)