Polemic polyphony Voices of the fools and the righteous in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem

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Bakhtin famously argued that language-as-used is essentially dialogic. One pragmatic implication concerns how dialogicity is established in various contexts. In political discourse, polemic polyphony emerges from the juxtaposition of adversarial voices of political actors: a dialogue in which different voices index different ideological orientations. Polyphonic ensembles establish discoursal scenes and make them recognizable, enabling distinctions such as those between 'us' and 'them', and between heroes and villains. Overall, they assist speakers in the semiotic mediation of political relations. The corpus includes eighteen speeches delivered during a dissent event that takes place after the Sheikh Jarrah weekly anti-occupation demonstration in East Jerusalem. The speeches are given in Hebrew by a Palestinian neighborhood resident and activist, to a small audience of regular Jewish-Israeli protestors. Through studying noninstitutionalized political discourse, dialogicity and polemic polyphony are illuminated in an on-the-ground, context-rich, and marginalized setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-836
Number of pages22
JournalPragmatics and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 6 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company.


  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Jerusalem
  • political discourse activism
  • polyphony
  • post truth
  • protest
  • reported speech


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