Call for Chapter Contributions in Positionality and Stance in Political Discourse

Vernon Press invites chapter proposals on Positionality and Stance in Political Discourse. The volume will be edited by Drs. Lawrence Berlin, Northeastern Illinois University, & Cristina Becker Lopes Perna, Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul.

We are seeking chapters that deal with Positionality and/or Stance from a pragmatic perspective–preferably positionality (cf. Davies & Harré, 1990; Harré & van Langenhove, 1991, 1999)–within the context of political discourse, specifically that of leaders (i.e., presidents, prime ministers, etc.).


Within the political sphere, a political actor is often judged by what he says, with language perceived as representative of the individual actor. Indeed, they are individuals with a lifetime of experiences and actions which inform, but may also undermine, their aspirations in gaining political capital (Bourdieu, 1986). However, these actors do not exist in isolation; they are members and, at times, potential candidates of a particular political party with its own ideology and agenda which may cause them to modify their personal speech to align with espoused policies of the party. The aim of this book is to examine the discourse of political actors through a pragmatic lens, enabling the unraveling of multiple layers of language use and pragmatic representation within political discourse. In order to accomplish this task, contributors have taken either a macro (top down with the discourse as the starting point) or micro (bottom up with the language as the starting point) approach.

Furthermore, in making a distinction between position and stance, the contributors use as a working definition the notion that positionality refers to the way speakers position themselves and others, their interlocutors, and their audiences vis-à-vis their choice of words, “and with respect to a context that they simultaneously respond to and construct linguistically” (Jaffe, 2009, p. 4). As such, position(ality) is manifest in the way the speaker pragmatically represents herself/himself through the words in a given situation. Stance, by contrast, refers to the choices made by speakers in their representation of the self toward others (i.e., the physical position, mental attitude, personal belief, and/or the social morality espoused at the institutional level). It is a public act, which is recognizable, interpretable, and subject to evaluation by others (cf. Englebretson, 2007, pp. 14-15). In this volume, stance is manifest in the politician as she/he chooses to represent herself/himself as an individual, as a candidate, and/or as a member of the party.

The contributions contained herein explore various forms of political discourse and the multiple stances politicos take therein, utilizing a clearly defined theoretical perspective and a specified social practice in order to shed light on the ways political actors can position themselves, their party, and/or their opponents toward the ostensive voters. In so doing, we hope to generate hypotheses surrounding how espoused perspectives relate to or reflect on the nature of the individual and his truth, the party he represents and its ideology, and/or the pandering to popular public opinion in order to curry favor.

How to submit your proposal

Please submit one-page monograph proposals at to, including an annotated summary/motivation, a short biographical note and (if applicable) a list of similar titles. Proposals that treat other topics of relevance to the series in Sociology are also welcome. More information on what we look for in a proposal is available on our website.

About the publisher

Vernon Press is an independent publisher of scholarly books in the social sciences and humanities. We work closely with authors, academic associations, distributors and library information specialists to identify and develop high quality, high impact titles. Recent and forthcoming titles include Machinima – Socio-Cultural Disturbance and Making Strangers.

More information on


Bordieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241-258). New York: Greenwood.

Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990). Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 20 (1), 43–63.

Englebretson, R. (2007). Stancetaking in discourse: Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Harré, R., & van Langenhove, L. (1991). Varieties of positioning. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 21 (4), 393–407.

Harré, R., & van Langenhove, L. (Eds.) (1999). Positioning theory: Moral contexts of international action. Oxford: Blackwell.

Jaffe, A. (Ed.) (2009). Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.