Defining the terms
The terms used in the development of my theory of Alarmist Gatekeeping came primarily through the process of analysis and conceptualisation of the data except in the case of Dominant Discoursing and Panopticism which are referenced below.
See Here for a summary of theory in context.
Abstraction: A strategy used to draw attention away from information that may threaten the Underlying Principle. Abstraction seeks to prioritise and generalise the Underlying Principle as an end in itself and Decontextualise the Principle from the reality of its enactment or outcome.
Adherents: People who are in conscious agreement with and uphold the Dominant Discourse Principle. Only Adherents have the power to decide who is in their group.
Alarmist Recruitment: the discourse atmosphere created bythe use of Obfuscation and Abstraction. It is also a strategy through which the perception of the public is controlled to ensure that the Underlying Principle is upheld.
Censoring: Process of exclusion of information that is perceived to threaten the Underlying Principle using strategies of Silencing from the public discourse, and defining Taboo Talk.
Discrediting: Together with Out-grouping, Discrediting is used to undermine those in the out-group either professionally or personally in order to create doubt and disbelief in their attempts to contribute to the discourse. Negative attributes of character and motive are ascribed to those in the out-group.
Dissidents: People who either disagree with the Dominant Discourse or who have been out-grouped as such by Adherents.
Dominant Discoursing: This encompasses the dominant public communications on a specific issue which is in some way polarising and which exercises control ‘by one group or organisation over the actions and/or the minds of another group, thus limiting the freedom of action of the others, or influencing their knowledge, attitudes or ideologies’ (van Dijk, 2013, p.93).
Experting: The process of promoting an Influential Person as an expert on the Underlying Principle whether or not they have particular ‘expertise’, but by virtue of their agreement with the Principle. An organisation may be Experted by publishing a policy statement that upholds the Principle, even if that organisation has no direct connection to the Principle issue.
Incognisants: People who uphold the Dominant Discourse Principle whether or not they specifically agree with the entirety of the perspective, because they have passively internalised the dominant messaging as true.
Influential People/Person: An Influential Person is always an Adherent and has some prominence in the field of promoting the Principle. They may be a leader of an Adherent organisation or some other person with a public profile who has always promoted the Dominant Discourse position. They are experted on the issue even if they have no specific expertise other than that they strictly adhere to the Underlying Principle.
Managing Perception/Balancing Risk: Perception and risk are interrelated for practitioners, with balancing risk involving the management of perception. Perception includes the way in which clients, colleagues or any other person may interpret information provided by the practitioner. The risk is assessed based on perception factors, personal values, and professional responsibilities.
Obfuscating: refers to statements used in strategic ways to persuade people to agree with the Underlying Principle. This is a quality of the discourse that is comprised of the dissemination of Disinformation (information that isn’t true), Misinformation (unwitting dissemination of Disinformation), and Inconsistency (the prevalence of inconsistent and often confusing information).
Out-grouping: The categorisation of people in disagreement with the Dominant Discourse, or people who use Taboo Talk that is perceived to threaten the Underlying Principle of the Discourse, as both a minority and a negative force.
Panopticism: Process of internalised self-monitoring (censoring) based on the belief or concern that one is under constant scrutiny (Foucault, 1991).
Perspective Gatekeeping: Conceptualises the action and power of Adherents to control the perspective, views, beliefs and behaviours related to upholding the Underlying Principle. It involves processes of Viewpoint Discrimination and Censoring.
Pervasive: meaning that the dominant perspective is apparent across a wide range of influencing spheres including, but not limited to media, education institutions, professional bodies and legislation.
Taboo Talk: Words, phrases, research, news stories, determined by Adherents to be a threat to the Underlying Principle.
Toeing the Line: To Toe the Line means to comply with the expectation of the Dominant Discourse to uphold the Principle, doing and saying nothing that is a real or perceived threat to the Principle. Whether a person toes the line effectively is determined only by Adherents. Practitioners may Toe the Line by Self-censoring, that is by withholding, or modifying information or by Opting out, by not engaging at all with women who disclose abortion.
Underlying Principle or Principle: this refers to the particular perspective or ideal that dominates the way in which the issue is discussed.
Viewpoint Discriminating: The preferment and promotion of the voices of Influential People described as experts by Adherents within the discourse. This includes a process of Out-grouping and Discrediting those who disagree with the dominant perspective.
Walking a Tightrope: This describes what practitioners do in the process of resolving their main concern, which is to ‘meet the expectations of the dominant discourse’. The expectations of the Dominant Discourse are to comply with the dominant position of abortion advocacy and do and say nothing that may constitute a real or perceived threat. The tightrope is the line between Managing Perception and Balancing Risk and involves a process of internalised censorship.