Cognitive linguistics and the public mind: Idealist doctrines, materialist histories

Publication date: January 2019

Source: Language & Communication, Volume 64

Author(s): Nick Riemer

Abstract

This article explores ‘political’ dimensions of the Cognitive Linguistics (CL) movement, considered especially with reference to Ronald Langacker and George Lakoff. CL is discussed with respect to the institutional politics necessary for disciplinary survival in a changing US higher education system, and the broader socio-political circumstances of the field's origins and development. These factors intersect in Lakoff, responsible both for many of CL's major theoretical innovations, and for an assertive application of CL ideas in the public sphere. An exploration of Lakoff's political contributions allows affinities between CL and humanities research in the postmodern mainstream to be identified, and CL's overall position in the history of twentieth century linguistics and other humanities disciplines to be clarified.

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