Discourses reflect largely meaning-making practices which cross borders and are not limited to particular nations. This is the generic level where language and culture relate. However, due to historical processes and structures in society, which are formed along national lines, such as governments and educational systems, globalized discourses may take on a national ‘articulation’. This has nothing to do with how people behave and think as a group and what characteristics they have, but it relates to accentuations of discourses which are deemed to be more common or more acceptable in certain social and cultural environments, including national ones. Similar articulations could just as easily exist in other countries or cultural groups, but if these accentuations are validated through the media in one country and not, or less so, in another, maybe we can talk about a ‘national’ articulation. The idea of a ‘Dutch articulation’ then became part of my idea of ‘cultuurtekst’; as a nationally articulated ‘flavor’ or ‘taste’ of a particular globalised discourse. I use this as one aspect of my approach to analyzing texts in the classroom (see chapter 4).
An example of Dutch articulation, as I saw it, is found in the Men’s Health text, which I used for the data collection lessons; it drew on a discourse of gender roles and domesticity which, in my view, would not have been acceptable in Britain, nor indeed now, 10 years later, in the Netherlands itself. This discourse, exaggerated as it was in places, was made acceptable through the way it was interwoven with other discourses into a ‘seamless fabric’ (cf. Kress, 1985).
I know, I am treading on dangerous ground, as, keen as I am to emphasize complexities of culture, the idea of a Dutch articulation could be perceived to be an essentialist view. However, I do not see this notion as directly linked to ‘a’ national culture, but merely as shifting tendencies. This articulation is in itself continuously changing, shifting, and contested. In Chapter 4, I describe my interpretation of the Dutch articulation of the text which I used for my classroom data.