Unpacking the Portmanteau: Megxit’s Implicit Racist Ideology
Western Journal of Communication
Ideology, implicit racism, megxit, portmanteau, rhetorical criticism
In this essay, we demonstrate the portmanteau’s value as an analytical tool for rhetorical study. We use the portmanteau Megxit as a case study to illustrate how the form of the portmanteau shapes how ideological arguments are presented and received. While portmanteaus are common, particularly in informal speech, we suggest that they can force conceptual associations between source terms that may not other-wise exist. Most importantly, portmanteaus present conceptual associations in a playful and innocuous way, making the portmanteau an ideal form to disguise hateful speech and transmit ideology in a media-friendly package. To demonstrate the ideological work of the portmanteau, we analyze examples of “Megxit” that implicitly evoke race. In doing so, we argue that popular neologisms are a key way that race is materialized in online discourse.
Vanguri, S. M., & Werner, M. M. (2023). Unpacking the Portmanteau: Megxit’s Implicit Racist Ideology. Western Journal of Communication, 00 (00), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/10570314.2023.2234333