© 2019

War and Its Ideologies

A Social-Semiotic Theory and Description


Part of the The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series book series (TMAKHLFLS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Annabelle Lukin
    Pages 1-31
  3. Annabelle Lukin
    Pages 107-140
  4. Annabelle Lukin
    Pages 141-159
  5. Annabelle Lukin
    Pages 197-201
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 203-283

About this book


Ideology is so powerful it makes us believe that war is rational, despite both its brutal means and its devastating ends. The power of ideology comes from its intimate relation to language: ideology recruits all semiotic modalities, but language is its engine-room. Drawing on Halliday’s linguistic theory – in particular, his account of the “semiotic big-bang” - this book explains the latent semiotic machinery of language on which ideology depends. The book illustrates the ideological power of language through a study of perhaps the most significant and consequential of our ideologies: those that enable us to legitimate, celebrate, even venerate war, at the same time that we abhor, denounce and proscribe violence. To do so, it makes use of large multi-register corpora (including the British National Corpus), and the reporting of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Australian, US, European, and Asian news sources. Combining detailed text analysis with corpus linguistic methods, it provides an empirical analysis showing the astonishing reach of our ideologies of war and their profoundly covert and coercive power.


Critical Linguistics Halliday and Ideology Hasan and Ideology Ideology Ideology and War Language and Ideology Language in Social Life Power of Ideology Power of Language Systemic Functional Linguistics and Ideology Systemic functional paradigm Systemic Functional Paradigm

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

About the authors

​Annabelle Lukin is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Macquarie University. She teaches grammar and meaning, as well as general linguistic theory. She has lectured in China and Latin America, and is a regular commentator on language matters in the Australian media.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title War and Its Ideologies
  • Book Subtitle A Social-Semiotic Theory and Description
  • Authors Annabelle Lukin
  • Series Title The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-981-13-0994-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-981-13-4546-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-981-13-0996-0
  • Series ISSN 2198-9869
  • Series E-ISSN 2198-9877
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXIII, 283
  • Number of Illustrations 16 b/w illustrations, 8 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Theoretical Linguistics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“A key strength is in the thought-provoking analytical walk-throughs of the texts under consideration (which could be seen as model analyses for students interested in carrying out corpus-based discourse analysis and/or Hallidayan analysis), and Lukin does an excellent job of laying out a range of hiding-in-plain-sight linguistic techniques that are used to justify war.” (Paul Baker, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, Vol. 25 (3), 2020)

“Given the innovative and interdisciplinary approach, this book is a great start into new discussions on the relation of language with conflict (and peace) and ideology.” (Roswitha Kersten-Pejanić, Journal of Language and Politics, Vol. 19 (5), 2020)