This study of gambling discourse focuses on how the governing party in Singapore makes use of the discursively constructed juxtaposing identities of social and problem gamblers as a symbolic resource for reaching its objective of public governance. To this end, the present article studies four gamblers' spoken testimonials recorded for a campaign launched by the Singapore National Council on Problem Gambling. The data were analyzed in relation to process types, appraisal resources, and code choice. It is found that via different linguistic means, the gamblers, as represented in the discourse, perform a range of identities, thereby foregrounding specific aspects of their self. Examples include the social gamblers' frequent use of relational processes to offer descriptive statements on the definition of gambling and the problem gamblers' self-evaluation of unethical behavior associated with gambling through intensive use of social sanction judgment markers. The results lead to the conclusion that the juxtaposition of the identities between social and problem gamblers is used symbolically by the government to construct the stigmatized identity of “problematic gamblers” so as to monitor its citizens' demeanor in the midst of legitimizing casino gambling.
About the authors
Ray C. H. Leung is a Ph.D. student at the English Department of Hong Kong Baptist University. He is working on his doctoral thesis on gambling discourse under the supervision of Kenneth C. C. Kong.
Kenneth C. C. Kong is teaching and researching discourse analysis at the English Department of Hong Kong Baptist University. He has published extensively in the areas of discourse analysis, intercultural communication, and visual analysis. He is currently writing two books, one on discourse of professional writing and the other on the social construction of workers’ identities from a historical perspective.
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