Linguistic techniques of the self: The intertextual language of racial empowerment in politically conscious Brazilian hip hop

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11 Scopus citations


This article describes the bodily aesthetics, patterns of consumption, and daily linguistic practices undertaken by hip-hop affiliated youth in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1990s. I argue that through their participation in politically conscious hip hop, poor male Brazilian youth attempt to racially transform their bodies into a form of 'modern blackness.' I focus, in particular, on the quoting of rap lyrics in daily conversation, a linguistic practice that offers audible evidence of one's consumption of hip hop style. I suggest that linguistic strategies of racial empowerment constitute forms of 'techniques of the self' that allow speakers to manage the racial appearance of the body through an avoidance of the traits that are negatively associated with blackness in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalLanguage and Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Communication

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