Global schemas and local discourses in Cosmopolitan

Blackwell Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Sociolinguistics, 2003, 7 (4), pp. 493 - 512
Issue Date:
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This paper investigates the representation of female identity and practice in the U.K., Dutch, German, Spanish, Greek, Finnish, Indian and Taiwanese versions of Cosmopolitan magazine. It shows how a problem solution discourse schema underlies a range of articles that do not all use a problem solution genre. While this schema is clearly global and occurs in all the versions of the magazine, it allows for local variation in terms of the kinds of problems and solutions it can accommodate. The schema is described as an interpretive framework which constructs social life as an individual struggle for survival in a world of risky and unstable relationships. The community of readers of the magazine is described as a globally dispersed and linguistically heterogeneous speech community which nevertheless shares an involvement with the same modalities and genres of language and the same linguistic constructions of reality and which can signify its allegiance to the values of the magazine through dress, grooming and other behaviours.
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