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Journal Article

Citation

Thurlow C. Lang. Soc. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2020, Cambridge University Press)

DOI

10.1017/S0047404519001015

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Aligned with renewed commitments to class critique in sociolinguistics and discourse studies, I examine premium as a floating signifier. My initial semiotic landscape analysis demonstrates how this word is attached to any number of goods/services, coaxing people into a sense of distinction and superior status. These language games occur most vividly in my second analytic site--Premium Economy--where status is fabricated as tangibly but not too obviously distinct from Economy while preserving the prestige of Business. From a corpus of over forty international airlines' promotional materials, I pinpoint three key rhetorics underpinning Premium Economy: extraction, excess, and comparison. My analysis locates premium as a quintessential form of symbolic violence (Bourdieu 1997/2000) deployed for controlling people by seducing, flattering, and enchanting them. The anxious bourgeoisie are thereby 'joyfully enlisted' (Lordon 2014) into the aspirational logics of elitism, all animated by the tenacious neoliberal ideologies of a supposedly post-class world. (Elite discourse, post-class ideology, floating signifiers, Frédéric Lordon 'premium', Premium Economy)*


Language: en

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