Seminar: Language, power and capital

16th January 2024

We’ll be back in January 2024 until May 2024

Organized by Programa de Actividades Públicas del Museo Reina Sofía with the collaboration of MIRCo

Coordination: Jorge Gaupp (Museo Reina Sofía), Luisa Martín Rojo (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Laura Villa (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) y Alberto Bruzos Moro (Universidad de Princeton).

Hybrid format: Museo Reina Sofía and online. 


This seminar, conducted in collaboration with the Multilingualism, Discourse, and Communication Research Center (MIRCo) at UAM, invites us to delve into the complex and fascinating intersection of language and politics. Throughout the sessions, we will explore how linguistic practices, interventions in language, and metalinguistic discourses intertwine with intricate power dynamics, the reproduction of social and economic inequality, and the hegemony of concepts and epistemologies that perpetuate —or resist— the current neoliberal and neocolonial order.

In this second edition, the seminar begins by examining how nationalism utilizes the “national language” and other symbols and traditions to create identities and naturalize borders, hierarchies, and rivalries.

To explore the potential of discursive mechanisms, we will delve into virulent cultural battles, denialism, hate speech, and the impact of social media on their production and circulation. From there, we will address the disciplinary and biopolitical instruments that the state uses to control the use of the national language and to regulate the linguistic practices of the population. This time, we will specifically focus on education and censuses.

The next step will be to reflect on the effects of linguistic racialization in both the colonial past and the current context. We will see how these effects revive an ongoing and still unresolved history, which takes a tangible form in common ideas, in the values and models by which people are judged, in the social order, and, ultimately, in the bodies.

Finally, the seminar will examine the possibilities and limitations of political communication in democracy, culminating in a reflection on how neoliberal ideologies have permeated all aspects of our lives, including language.

We will discover how these ideologies act as powerful instruments of political and social transformation by exerting control over individual and collective subjectivity.

The result of the journey we will undertake in this seminar will allow us to better understand the dynamic intersection of language and power, where both influence each other, shaping power structures and constructing social realities.


In progress.