University of Lancaster
This paper examines the use of keywords to approach the discourse of
moral panic evident in the writings of the Society for the Reformation
of Manners in late seventeenth/early eighteenth century England. The
keyword approach, I will argue allows one to populate a model of moral
panic discourse, while simultaneously showing how, in that historical
context, links were forged between concepts which, while unlinked then,
have become naturalised as being linked in modern English. By showing
how keywords relate to discourse, and ultimately to a process whereby
meanings and objects become linked, the paper will argue that keywords
are important tools for the historical linguist in studying the shifting
patterns of word association in language.
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