In and Out of Africa in Journalism and Literary Discourse
This study explores examples of three kinds of discourse on Africa, all of them involving interplays of INSIDE(S) and OUTSIDE(S) in African and non-African perspectives: (1) titles and marketing descriptions of BBC and CNN feature series on Africa and Middle East; (2) Karen Blixen’s (Isak Dinesen’s) memoir Out of Africa and its sequel Shadows on the grass; and (3) Paul Kenyon’s I am Justice. A journey out of Africa, which tells the story of a Ghanaian teenager’s journey from his native Ghana to Europe. INSIDE and OUTSIDE are shown to be more than just container schemas: they are subjectivized, dynamic cultural and axiological constructs that inhabit languacultures. The analysis offered here makes use of the findings of cognitive linguistics by applying the parameters of figure-ground organization, vantage point, focus, resolution/granularity of viewing, and synthetic vs. analytic outlook. Additionally, a distinction is made, in the context of Africa, between physical and psychological/mental space. INSIDE and OUTSIDE are thus considered semantically and culturally “thick” notions that help reveal the complexity and dynamism of geopolitical spaces as the latter are constructed in discourse.
Key words: INSIDE, OUTSIDE, Africa, cognitive linguistics, semantic thickness, the politics of spac