Greek men’s and women’s magazines as codes of gender conduct

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This chapter reports on a data-driven contrastive study of Greek men’s and women’s lifestyle magazines. Integrating methodologies of corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis, it explores the hypothesis that, despite their apparently dichotomic gender-oriented differentiation, these two types of publication bear fundamental discoursal and ideological similarities. The initial quantitative (n-gram-based) analysis of the two corpora reveals an equally striking prominence of the power-expressing feature of deontic modality in both men’s and women’s magazines. The in-depth qualitative (concordance-based) analysis of the instances of deonticity demonstrates that magazine texts systematically simulate and creatively rearticulate a multitude of recognizable voices of authority of the public and private spheres (e.g. official institutions, professional experts, educators, parents and older relatives, lovers, friends), seamlessly incorporating the relevant styles and registers (e.g. information leaflet, instructions manual, self-help book, teacher scolding, parent counseling, lover’s reprimand, friend’s mock-impolite criticism, etc.) in the magazines’ proposed life scripts. The relentlessly regulative tone is invariably mitigated by the implication that the rules posed are for the benefit of the reader. It appears that the extensive appropriation of canonistic discourses and their skillful and imaginative hybridisation with other replicated non-regulative genres and registers renders deontic modality a powerful rhetorical instrument for effectively conveying gender-differential and other crucial (e.g. consumerist/commercial, political) messages in both types of lifestyle magazines.


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