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Sticks and stones: How words and language impact upon social inclusion

Authors:

Kathy McKay,

School of Health, University of New England, Armidale, AU
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Stuart Wark ,

School of Rural Medicine, University of New England, Armidale, AU
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Virginia Mapedzahama,

CRN for Mental Health and Well-Being in Rural and Regional Communities, University of New England, Armidale; School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, AU
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Tinashe Dune,

CRN for Mental Health and Well-Being in Rural and Regional Communities, University of New England, Armidale; School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, AU
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Saifur Rahman,

School of Rural Medicine, University of New England, Armidale, AU
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Catherine MacPhail

School of Health, University of New England, Armidale, AU
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Abstract

Language framed as derogatory names and symbols can have implications for people and their life experiences. Within a Saussurian-inspired frame, and looking at ideas of stigma and social inclusion, this paper examines the use of language as a weapon within a social context of (changing) intent and meaning. Three examples of language use in mainstream society are analysed: ‘retarded’ which evolved from scientific diagnosis to insult; ‘gay’ as a derogatory adjective within popular culture; and, the way language around suicide is used to both trivialise and stigmatise those who are suicidal, as well as those who are bereaved.

How to Cite: McKay, K., Wark, S., Mapedzahama, V., Dune, T., Rahman, S. and MacPhail, C., 2015. Sticks and stones: How words and language impact upon social inclusion. Journal of Social Inclusion, 6(1), pp.146–162. DOI: http://doi.org/10.36251/josi.96
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Published on 02 Sep 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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