Mental models in manifesto texts : the case of students for a democratic society and weatherman

Holland, Jeremy and Hart, Christopher and Szerszynski, Bronislaw (2018) Mental models in manifesto texts : the case of students for a democratic society and weatherman. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The focus of this thesis is the study of manifesto texts and the way they offer collective audiences geopolitical worldviews grounded in mental models. I investigate both propositional and imagistic approaches to conceptual structure suggested in sociological, psychological and linguistic literatures. By reviewing contemporary representational formats for the internal structure of mental models, my aim is to develop a framework for demonstrating conceptual structures encoded in manifesto texts. In different research fields the mental model construct is recognized by multiple terms and is variously referred to as ‘collective action frames’ in social movement theory, ‘situation’ and ‘context models’ in socio-cognitive discourse studies, ‘case frames’ in frame semantics, ‘idealized cognitive models’ in cognitive linguistics and ‘deictic space models’ in cognitive discourse studies. Building on these recent approaches to mental models, conceptual operations such as schematization, categorization, metaphorical projection and mental space construction will be integrated into my suggested theoretical framework. Using two 1960s social movement manifestos as data, I explore the potential for a scenes-and-episodes framework for reconstructing conceptual structures within models. Following other cognitive discourse approaches, this framework assumes that conceptual structures active in both short term memory (STM) and long term memory (LTM) models are embodied. Analysing language from an embodied perspective means that lexical and grammatical constructions are thought to be cuing imagistic simulations that bring internal structure to a mental model. These imagistic simulations are employed by the reader during the construal of situations encoded in the text. In this framework, the sum of these lexical and grammatical constructions are considered to make up a cognitive discourse grammar. Moving toward a more complete understanding of the conceptualisation process, I also explore how online construal operations active during model creation may be interacting with offline categorical structures in LTM. Overall, the aim of this thesis is to provide a framework for modelling meaning construction as it takes place in the minds of text consumers.

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Thesis (PhD)
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18 Jun 2018 10:06
Last Modified:
02 Jul 2024 00:58