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Changing Strategies of Persuasion in Political Rhetoric: a corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005. Jane Mulderrig University of Lancaster [email protected] Presentation Overview. Object of study: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair

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Changing Strategies of Persuasion in Political Rhetoric: a corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005


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Presentation Overview corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Object of study: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair

  • Methods: Critical Discourse Analysis, Corpus Linguistics, Political Economic Theory

  • Key Trends: ‘Personalisation’, ‘Managerialisation’


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Discourse, Education, and the Capitalist State corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • The political economy of education policy discourse

  • Historical Context: late capitalist Britain - towards the ‘lifelong learning’ knowledge economy (Jessop, 2002)

  • Dilemmas of Governance: textual strategies of representation and legitimation (Rose, 1999; Van Leeuwen, 1996a)… Exploring Identity


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Questions, Data, Linguistic Tools corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Identity, roles, relations: the government, teachers, pupils, parents

  • Problems with CDA: eclecticism, replicability

  • Digital corpus: education ‘White Papers’ (a genre of persuasion)

  • Wordsmith, SFL, Van Leeuwen, Keywords as ‘Emergent Discourses’


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Key Trend 1: Personalisation corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Keywords search: patterns of self-representation

  • Textually prominent forms: government (1875)+ we (2654)

  • We as KEYWORD under Blair

  • Coding Senses of we: inclusive [I], exclusive [E], ambivalent [?]


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The Functions of ‘We’ corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Exclusive we - government boasts

  • Inclusive we - evaluative comparisons

  • Ambivalent we - imperatives driven by economic globalisation

  • Textual Sequencing: (I) evaluation, (?) exhortation, (E) promise


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Hegemonic Role of corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005we: inclusion and shared responsibility

  • Beyond these subjects, we[?] need to be confident that everyone leaving education is equipped to be an informed, responsible, active citizen. In an ever more complex, interdependent world, where an engaged population is crucial to the health of our society, we[E] continue to put citizenship at its heart too. And we[?] need real confidence that our schools and colleges really do give young people the skills they need for employability

  • Juxtaposition: ‘we (I) live in a changing world’, ‘we (?) must respond with X activity’, and ‘we (E) will provide X policy solution’


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Key Trend 2 - Managerialisation corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Towards Managerialism in Governance

  • Getting people to do things: enable, allow (causatives), ensure, require, expect, support, help, give X greater choice

  • Beyond SFL: a typology of managing


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Managed Actions corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Cline of coercion

  • Overseer (ensure) ‘Without X, Y wouldn’t do it’

  • Leader (require, expect)

  • Facilitator (enable, help) ‘Without X, Y couldn’t do it’


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Typology of Managed Actions corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

[1] OverseerEnsure (that) -- does, Make sure (that) -- does

[2] Leader Require – to, Expect – to, Look to – to, Want – to, Envisage that – should, Urge – to, Encourage – to, Ask -- to, Invite -- to, Promote [+ nominalization meaning ‘the doing of X by MA’]

[3] Facilitator

Ability

Support – (to/in doing), Help – to, Facilitate – to, Let – do, Allow – to, Enable – to, (Transform/Enhance) the capacity of – to, Make it easier (for--) to,

Opportunity

Free –to, Give –(greater/more) freedom(s) to, Provide/Increase/widen the) opportunities for -- to, Provide for – to


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General Findings corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Managerialisation (9, 43, 358)

  • Heath-Thatcher: ‘leader’ role in eroding LEA power

  • Major: ‘overseeing’ Competitiveness

  • Blair:’leader’ role to benchmark, monitor, set targets

  • Ensure: A key resource in modern governance: managing complexity and setting targets for excellence


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SUMMARY corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

  • Key Trends: Personalisation and Managerialisation

  • New Labour: prominent, personalised, managerial

  • We - an ‘inclusive’ tool of policy legitimation

  • Rhetoric: ’We offer an active, enabling government’’

  • Reality: more coercive leader role (expect, want, urge… excellence and economic responsiveness)


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References corpus-based critical analysis of UK government discourse 1972-2005

Jessop, B. (2002) The Future of the Capitalist State Cambridge: Polity

Rose, N. (1999b) Powers of Freedom: reframing political thought Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Mulderrig, J. (forthcoming) “Using Keywords Analysis in CDA: evolving discourses of the knowledge economy in education”, in Fairclough, N., Wodak, R., and Jessop, B. (eds.): Critical Semiotic Approaches to Education and the Knowledge Economy, Brighton: Falmer

Van Leeuwen, T. (1996a) The Grammar of Legitimation Unpublished manuscript

Van Leeuwen, T. (1996b) The Representation of Social Actors, In Caldas-Coulthard, C. R., and Coulthard M. (eds.), Texts and Practices: readings in critical discourse analysis London: Routledge

Van Leeuwen, T. and Wodak, R. (1999) Legitimizing Immigration Control: a discourse-historical analysis, In Discourse Studies 1.1


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