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Abstract studies in terms of their theoretical

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Abstract

This
essay overviews the body of research known as political discourse analysis
(PDA). This essay begins by situating this work inside the linguistic and
political turns that took place in the human and social sciences. Then discuss diverse
concept of what comprises the political and the appropriate objects of study
for PDA. Adopting an inclusive conception of politics and discourse, This essay
consider the relationship between PDA and critical discourse analysis (CDA). The
last part of the essay discuss the review of political discourse studies in
terms of their theoretical and analytic frameworks and the socio-political
issues.

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Introduction

This
paper will find out “Political Discourse Analysis”. Its most common PDA focuses
on the analysis of ‘political discourse’, although we then still need to
determine which discourse is political and which is not. The main purposes of
this paper is to find out what we mean by political discourse and the main
concepts of Political Discourse Analysis. Without falling apart political
discourse analysis into critical discourse analysis. PDA is both about
political discourse, and it is also a critical enterprise. In the spirit of
contemporary approaches in CDA this would mean that critical-political
discourse analysis deals especially with the reproduction of political power,
power abuse or domination through political discourse, including the various
forms of resistance or counter-power against such forms of discursive
dominance. In particular such an analysis is concerned with the conditions and
consequences of social and political inequality resulting from such dominance
(Fairclough 1995). The PDA should be able to answer the correct and relevant
political questions and address the issues discussed in political science. That
the analysis of the relevant political discourse for the new cross-disciplinary
discipline of discourse studies hardly requires any further argument. Indeed,
most scientists who analyze political discourse are linguists and discourse
analysts (see, for example, Wodak & Menz 1990)

In this case the
paper at the same time formulates a petition which the use of broader discourse
analysis in political science. To present the argument that most phenomena in
politics are a form of text and speech may be very clear, especially to
discourse analysts, but it is not a good reason for political scientists to
change their current approach to more analytical analysis: that problems in
political science can in principle be studied more fully and sometimes more
adequately when it is realized that the issue has an important discursive
dimension. Directly the “Political Discourse”, the definition of the
field of media discourse, which also needs to be centered on the audience.

Even though there are many more ways we may approach the problems
of definition and delimitation, we may finally take the whole context as
decisive for the categorization of discourse as ‘political’ or not.
Participants and actions are the core of such contexts, but we may further
analyze such contexts broadly in tercos of political and communicative events
and encounters, with their own settings (time, place, circumstances),
occasions, intentions, functions, goals, and legal or political implications.

THEORY

The study of
political discourse has been around for as long as politics itself. The
emphasis the Greeks placed on rhetoric is a case in point. From Cicero
(1971) to Aristotle (1991) the concern was
basically with particular methods of social and political competence in
achieving specific objectives. While Aristotle gave a more formal twist to
these overall aims, the general principle of articulating information on
policies and actions for the public good remained constant. This general
approach is continued today.

Modern
rhetorical studies are more self-conscious, however, and interface with aspects
of communication science, historical construction, social theory, and political
science (for an overview see Gill and Whedbee (1997). While there has
been a long tradition of interest in political discourse, if one strictly
defines political discourse analysis in broadly linguistic terms (as perhaps all
forms of discourse analysis should be defined: see Fairclough and
Wodak 1997),
it is only since the early 1980s or 1990s that work in this area has come to
the fore. Indeed, Geis (1987) argues that his
is the first text with a truly linguistic focus on political
language/discourse. There is some merit in this argument, but without opening
up issues about what is and what is not linguistics, many of the earlier
studies in social semiotics and critical linguistics should also
be included in a general linguistic view of political discourse (Fowler et al. 1979; Chilton 1990, 1985; Steiner 1985). While language
is always clearly central to political discourse, what shifts is the balance
between linguistic analysis and political comment. Distinguishing the direction
of this balance, however, is not always straightforward.

Nevertheless,
although crucial in political science and PDA as actors and authors of
political discourse and other political practices, politicians are not the only
participants in the domain of politics. From the interactional point of view of
discourse analysis, we therefore should also include the various recipients in
political communicative events, such as the public, the people, citizens, the
`masses’, and other groups or categories. That is, once we locate politics and
its discourses in the public sphere, many more participants in political
communication appear on the stage. Obviously, the same is true for the
definition of the field of media discourse, which also needs to focus on its
audiences. And also in medical, legal or educational discourse, we not only
think of participants such as doctors, lawyers or teachers, but also of
patients, defendants and students. Hence, the delimitation of political
discourse by its principal authors’ is insufficient and needs to be extended to
a more complex picture of all its relevant participants, whether or not these
are actively involved in political discourse, or merely as recipients in
one-way modes of communication. There is another complication, which is
associated with the very delimitation of the field of politics. Obviously, it is
not only official or professional politics and politicians that are involved in
the polity. Political activity and the political process also involve people as
citizens and voters, people as members of pressure and issue groups,
demonstrators and dissidents, and so on (Verba, et al., 1993). All these groups
and individuals, as well as their organizations and institutions, may take part
in the political process, and many of them are actively involved in political
discourse. That is, a broad defition of politics implies a vast extension of
the scope of the term ‘political discourse’ if we identify such practices by
all participants in the political process.

 

THE DOMAIN OF
POLITICS

In order to spell out the
consequences of such a characterization of the domain of politics for political
discourse, let us briefly identify some of these properties. We shall later see
that these will also appear as relevant properties of the political contexts
which we have selected as the major sets of criterio to distinguish political
from other forms (or orders, or domains of) discourse. We shall begin with the
more general and abstract categories and end with the more specific properties
of political contexts. Our characterization of each relevant category will be
minimal, since each of the notions involved would require (and did result in)
book-length treatment in political science. Our aim is only to select some
relevant categories for the definition of political text and context.

– Societal domain or field The
domain of Politics is the highest, most inclusive category comprising the
various aspects of politics specified below. Such a domain label, like that of
e.g. Education, Health, Law, Business, the Arts, etc., plays an important role
in the commonsensical definition of political actions and discourse. It may
also be negatively used in judging illegitimate practices in other domains,
e.g., when research is prohibited or problematized because it is no longer in
the domain of Science but in the domain of Politics. These systems are usually
understood as referring to the organization and distribution of power and the
principies of decision making. – Political values At the most general and
abstract level, shared cultural values may be declared typical for political
systems. Thus, Freedom is not only a political relationship (see below), but
also a basic political value organizing more specific political ideologies and
attitudes. The same is true for the values of Solidarity, Equality and
Tolerance. Ideological groups and categories will especially also define
themselves (and their goals) in terms of their most cherished (preferential)
values. Thus, for dominated groups, political Freedom, Justice, Equality or
Independence maybe more prominent values than for instance the social values of
Harmony, Submission, or Sympathy.

 – Political
ideologies What political systems are at the level of the social and
economic organization of power, political ideologies define the socio-cognitive
counterpart of such systems. They are the basic belief systems that underlie
and organize the shared social representations of groups and their members. In
that respect, communism or democracy may be seen both as a system and as a
complex set of basic social representations, involving relevant values and
sustaining specific altitudes about properties (like power, equality, etc.)
that characterize the system. – Political institutions The domain of politics
is typically analyzed as consisting of a number of political institutions,
which, top down, organize the political field, actors and actions, such as the
State, Govemments, Parliament or Congress (the Legislature), city councils,
state agencies, and so on. – Political organizations Less (legally,
constitutionally) official are the large number of political organizations that
structure political action, such as political parties, political clubs, NGOs,
and so on. – Political groups Independently of their organization in political
organizations, collections of political actors may form more or less formal,
cohesive or permanent groups, such as opponents, dissidents, demonstrators,
diques, coalitions, crowds, and in general socio-political movements. –
Political actors Besides paid, elected representativas (`politicians’) the
class of political actors is commonsensically defined by all those who are
`engaged in politics’, by accomplishing political action, including
demonstrators, lobbyists and strikers. – Political relations The various
structural units identified aboye are connected by multiple relations, some of
which are typical for the field of politics: Power, power abuse, hegemony,
oppression, tolerance, equality and inequality, among many others, especially
define how the State relates to its citizens, or how certain political groups
are positioned relative to others. Probably the most pervasive of diese
political relation terms is that of Freedom. – Political process Passing from
the `structural’ analysis of political systems, organizations and relations to
a more `dynamic’ conceptualization of the domain of policies, the political
process is the overall term that categorizes complex, long-term, sequences of
political actions. Goveming, legislation, opposition, solidarity,
agenda-setting, and policies are among the prototypical aspects of such
political processes.

– Political actions At the meso and micro level of the political
domain, we finally deal with concrete acts and interactions that are typical
for the political domain, such as sessions and meetings of political
institutions, organizations and groups, passing laws, voting, demonstrations,
campaigning, revolutions, and so on. It is at this level of everyday
interaction that `engaging in politics’ is most directly visible and
experienced. Such actions are also defined in terms of their intentions,
purposes, goals and functions within the more complex political process. Thus a
session of parliament is functional within the process of legislation, and a
meeting of a group of dissidents part of the process of opposition or
resistance. – Political discourse Obviously a specific example of political
action and interaction, political discourse (and its many genres) may here be
singled out as a prominent way of `doing politics’. Indeed, most political
actions (such as passing laws, decision making, meeting, campaigning, etc.) are
largely discursive. Thus, besides parliamentary debates, bilis, laws,
government or ministerial regulations, and other institutional forms of text
and talk, we find such political discourse genres as propaganda, political
advertising, political speeches, media interviews, political talk shows on TV,
party programs, ballots, and so on. – Political cognition In the same way as
ideologies are the cognitive counterpart of systems, organizations or groups at
the broader, societal and political macro-levels, political actors, actions and
discourse are locally guided and interpreted and evaluated by various forms of
political cognition, such as shared social knowledge and political altitudes,
as well as more specific knowledge (models) of concrete political events. The
most pervasive common-sense notion of this category is probably that of `public
opinion’. Changing the initial position of discourse in this political sphere,
now we can look more closely at the political discourse itself. It is
emphasized that in both politics and political science, such discourse is
prejudiced as a form of political action, and as a political process step. Such
a view fits perfectly with the dominant paradigm in most social approaches to
discourse, ie discourse is a form of social action and interaction (Atkinson
& Heritage 1984; Boden & Zimmennan 1991; van Dijk 1985). While this is
primarily shown for spoken interactions or dialogue, it is clear that written
text or rather text writing is a form of social and political action. Textual
communication (written, printed, computer) may not be face to face, but because
it is no less a form of action and interaction. Achieving political action, or
simply ‘doing politics’ through text and speech is clearly more than just
producing or understanding discourse in the context of political and political
actors. Thus, non-topical speeches or speeches (on personal or non-political
topics, see Jefferson 1972) MPs in parliament need not at all be a political
discourse, even if all other contextual conditions are met, and similar
examples can be mentioned for the most part political context. Indeed, such a
sequence is by no means’ an example of a parliamentary-parliamentary discourse
at all. This will not be recorded in the Acts (Notes, etc.) of the Parliament,
not only because it is a private intervention and not a public intervention but
also because it may not be relevant to the existing business, as defined by the
agenda, and overall objectives parliamentary session. Indeed, as is usually the
case in classrooms, courtrooms and other institutional arrangements, such
‘relevant’ sequence of sides may be prohibited by Speakers, chairmen or others
who control the discourse in such situations. Therefore, to continue this
example, the discourse in parliament is only political if it is open, and
serves in parliamentary debate, if it is ‘for recording’, and if
parliamentarians intend and hear to contribute to the parliamentary business in
hand, like arguing with Bill. That is, in addition to speaking openly and for
the record, they are expected to speak as members of parliament, and as members
or representatives of their party. Technically, a number of further conditions
are needed, such as speaking out loud, sometimes only if they have been given a
speech (except in special cases, as in inte), while speaking in court, and when
speaking with relevance, that is on the topic ‘.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions and Summary

One of the core
goals of political discourse analysis is to seek out the ways in which language
choice is manipulated for specific political effect. In our discussions we have
clearly seen that almost all levels of linguistics are involved; i.e. most samples
of political discourse may be mapped onto the various levels of linguistics
from lexis to pragmatics. At the level of lexical choice there are studies of
such things as loaded words, technical words, and euphemisms (Graber
1981; Geis
1987; Bolinger
1982). In grammar, as we have seen, there are studies of selected
functional systems and their organization within different ideological frames (Fowler
and Marshall 1985). There are also studies of pronouns and their
distribution relative to political and other forms of responsibility (Maitland
and Wilson 1987; Wilson
1990; Pateman
1981; Lwaitama
1988) and studies of more pragmatically oriented objects such as implic-
atures, metaphors, and speech acts (van Dijk
1989; Wilson
1990; Holly
1989; Chilton
and Ilyin 1993).

As we have
discussed above, defining political discourse is not a straightforward matter.
Some analysts define the political so broadly that almost any discourse may be
considered political. At the same time, a formal constraint on any definition
such that we only deal with politicians and core political events excludes the
everyday discourse of politics which is part of people’s lives. The balance is
a difficult one, and perhaps all we can expect from analysts is that they make
clear in which way they are viewing political discourse, because they too, like
politicians, are limited and mani pulated in and by their own discourse. As we
have seen, in a number of cases (Stubbs and van Dijk, for example) the text
which is being analyzed has already been delimited as a specific political
type. Stubbs refers to his chosen text as an “environmentalist one,” and van
Dijk refers to specific speeches as “racist.” In both cases, social and
political judgments have been made before analysis commences. In other studies
(Gunn and Wilson, for example) the data generate their own stories, and the
initial constraint is usually only linguistic, the political being drafted in
later to explain why patterns may have emerged as they have. I am not suggesting
that these are mutually exclusive alternatives, or that one or the other has
any specific problems. The point is made to illustrate the way in which some
analyses may become as much political as linguistic; and I think political
discourse is made up of, and must allow for, both.

Since the early
1980s, there has been a growing interest in the area of political discourse
(with studies emerging from across the globe: see Chilton
1997). While many studies have adopted (explicitly or implicitly) a
critical perspective (see van Dijk, this volume), there has also been a variety
of other approaches available, rang ing from the descriptive to the
psychological. The essential issue in political discourse is, as we have noted,
the balance between linguistic analysis and political analysis, and we have
perhaps emphasized the former in this chapter as opposed to the latter, since,
in general, this is what distinguishes political discourse analysis from
political research as found, say, in political science.

It is also now a growing
trend in political discourse to combine social theory with linguistic theory
(see Fairclough
1992a; Wodak
1995).
The trick, however, is not to lose linguistic rigor for the sake of
sociopolitical claims, but equally not to simply continue producing
language-based analyses which do not fully consider why, in social and
political terms, specific linguistic choices have been made. There is also an
emerging argument for a more integrated semiotic view of public and political
com munications which combines analyses of a range of sign-based systems (Kress
and van Leeuwen 1990, 1996). But certain core features will,
and must, remain constant in the field of political discourse, and central to
this is the role of language and lan guage structure, and its manipulation for
political message construction and political effect.

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