Volume 6 (1) 2012


Bertie Kaal

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  • A discourse approach was developed to identify explicit perspectivisation afforded by conceptual and narrative structures in political texts. The hypothesis is that the ground perspective of political rationale is packaged in ‘worldviews’ that guide ideologically motivated attitudes. This pilot study focuses on finding the ground of such discursive rhetorical structures in spatial representation as a method to distinguish party profiles. The cognitive motivation for a discursive worldview approach lies in theory of spatial cognition its relation to language and thought (Levinson 2003). Without claiming that language mirrors thought, we assume that discourse spaces suggest boundaries that give structure to the way we think and feel about the complex world we experience. In a narrative sense these spatial frames of reference make speculative assumptions about the future that sound ‘right’, as seen from a particular deictic point of view. These subjective worldviews suggest text-intrinsic causal relations by metaphorically mapping attitude on real time and space dimensions. This cross-over of real space and subjective mental space links attitude with the real time and space in which we share knowledge and experiences. The hypothesis is that the time and space in which worldviews are based is indicative of rational as well as affective characteristics of party positions.A discourse space model (Chilton 2004) was developed for the annotation of time, space and modality markers in Dutch election manifestos to identify differences between the discourse space of politically motivated worldviews. Results were compared with a content analytic study for party positioning using the same data. The TSM model is being designed for meaning-based party positioning on political dimensions.

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    9. Cienki, A., B. Kaal and E. Maks (2010). Mapping world view in political texts using Discourse Space Theory: Metaphor as an analytical tool. Presented at RaAM 8, VU Amsterdam.
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    16. Kaal, B. (2010). Spatial metaphor and worldview in political party positions. Unpublished paper, Workshop on Narrative, Living with Uncertainty, York University. http://vu-nl.academia.edu/BertieKaal
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Darren Kelsey

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  • The ‘Blitz spirit’ is a popular story of Britain during the Second World War, uniting together with defiance to overcome the threat of invasion from Nazi Germany. This paper reviews the Blitz spirit as a myth before a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) examines how this myth was retold in British newspapers after the July 7th bombings. I firstly analyse Blitz spirit discourses that evoked unity between Britain and America in the war on terror. I then argue that evocations of this myth became more complex, often criticising Tony Blair for his moral incompatibility with Second World War or Churchillian analogies. Both discursive positions used a myth that remembers and forgets details in a popular story from the past. This paper argues that whilst the Blitz spirit was a problematic feature of post-July 7th media, it did not serve one ideological purpose. Through a nuanced approach to Roland Barthes’ model of myth, I argue that an ideological battleground occurred when a myth from the 1940s recurred in 2005.

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Jørn Cruickshank

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  • In discourse theoretical studies the qualitative interview is scarcely treated as a method, but as empirical data. Some important methodological challenges for discourse theory are thereby being obscured. In this paper the role of the qualitative interview in discourse theory is therefore discussed. The paper outlines the roots of the discourse theoretical project and its approach to language as a reality-producing force. Furthermore, I discuss the role of the discourse theorist in the interview and the status that is assigned to actors and structure in the analysis of qualitative interviews. Discourse theoretical studies do not take advantage of the interview as a way to reveal social forces beyond the influence of language and discourse. It is therefore argued that further efforts should be made in order to reveal the limits to discourse theoretical studies, but then it is the necessary to be more explicit on the distinction between method and empirical data.

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Ilona Vandergriff

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  • Employing theoretical concepts and frameworks from pragmatics and Critical Discourse Analysis, this study shows how taking a stance on stance (henceforth: metastancing) can be used to as a legitimation strategy in political speeches. Based on a data collection extracted from Hitler speeches (1935-1941) I document how this speaker’s metastances serve two complementary “constructive strategies” (Van Leeuwen and Wodak 1999: 92), a polarized negative other-representation and positive self­-representation. Whereas negative references and predications are well-documented in this kind of discourse, the manner in which opponents of Nazi ideology (including Jews, communists/socialists, or the Allies) are disrespected or even ridiculed deserves special attention. Instead of derogatory or pejorative terms, conventionally positively evaluated references and predications are voiced with irony, sarcasm and mockery. By discrediting opponents and critics in this way, the speaker simultaneously voices and suppresses challenges to or criticisms of Nazi political action. Complementing this negative other-representation the speaker uses self-references and predications to enhance his or his party’s positive image. These references and predications in conjunction with framing and fallacious argumentation promote a polarized us-against-them mentality that invites the audience to align with the speaker. By showing oppositional stances as inferior to the speaker’s, the speaker seeks legitimation of Nazi policy and ideology.

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Shaimaa El Naggar

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  • In this paper, I apply the Discourse Historical Approach (DHA) (e.g. Wodak and Meyer 2009) to discourse on religion. Discourse on religion has been taken for granted (e.g. Chilton 2004: xi) and little is known about its characteristic discourse features. A few studies (e.g.  Neuman et al 2001; Muchnik 2005) have explored discourse on religion, focusing on particular features (e.g. irony, and narratives). These studies, however, have overlooked the broader socio-political and historical contexts that intertwine with discourse. The present study aims to fill that gap by exploring processes of persuasion in one speech by the Muslim televangelist Hamza Yusuf. Two main processes will be explored: interdiscursivity and intertextuality. Interdiscursivity indicates that discourses can be linked to discourses on other topics or sub-topics; intertextuality refers to the link to other texts through invoking a topic, an event or a main actor (e.g. Richardson and Wodak 2009b:46). As I will show in the data analysis, the speaker invokes some discourses and dismisses others to serve his specific persuasive intentions. In addition, religious terms are recontextualised in contemporary contexts to link the speech to the religious realm and to present religion as a force of change.

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