Bogan as a keyword of contemporary Australia: Sociality and national dicsource in Australian English

Roslyn Rowen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter studies the word bogan as a cultural keyword of contemporary Australian public discourse. The word bogan is specific to Australian English, with its closest counterpart in other Englishes being chav in British English and white trash or redneck in American English. Through a semantic analysis of the word, this chapter demonstrates that the social category of “bogans” remains a negative concept, denoting a certain group of people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are car-loving, prone to violence and have a certain bogan outlook on life. However, the chapter also shows that in contemporary Australian discourse this originally negative concept can be transformed into a way of self-identification, and as a way of positively embracing Australian nationalism.This analysis is supported by studies in the ethnopragmatics and historical pragmatics of Australian English, which show a general tendency to value the “shared ordinariness” of people and to discursively “heroise” the little man, and the semi-criminal person. Applying the NSM approach to linguistic and cultural analysis, this chapter provides new analyses of the meaning of bogan, and cultural scripts related to the concept. It also opens up the study of the emergence of new cultural keywords, and on the semantic and discursive diversity within Anglo Englishes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCultural Keywords in Discourse
    EditorsSophia Waters, Carsten Levisen
    Place of PublicationNetherlands
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    Number of pages28
    ISBN (Print)9789027256829
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2017


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