This chapter is part of a wider research project investigating the interplay of metaphor and appeals to emotions in George W. Bush’s political discourse. The study focuses on ways the president has created support and consensus for his ‘preventive war’; the analysis traces the emergence of a conflict frame and a strategy of fear as respectively the fundamental ideological basis and the main persuasion strategy of his line of argument. By ‘conflict frame’ we mean a conceptual model involving two opposing sides. In the typical conflict scenario of the fairy tale (Lakoff 1991), the two sides are not equal in merit: there is a hero – who may or may not coincide with the victim and has to defeat a villain, who by definition is the enemy. The disproportion between the two sides renders the dualism hierarchical, which often leads to a further radicalisation in what is called the ‘manichean frame’. The ‘manichean frame’, as a particular radicalisation of the ‘conflict frame’, for its peculiarity and frequency over our corpus, may preside over a kind of novel metaphorical process specifically characterizing Bush’s discourse. This is the case when a universal opposition between inherently Good and Evil is called on: the ‘inferior’ ontological status attributed to what is made to coincide with Evil (Good is Up vs. Bad/Evil is Down) justifies a series of related implications primarily concerning the conceptual definition of ‘safety’ and ‘justice’, e.g. “performing lesser evils in the name of good is justified” (Lakoff 2001: 3). By ‘strategy of fear’ we mean a persuasive attitude, which strategically works through the combination of two opposed emotions – fear and confidence – in correlation with the discursive construction of two opposed spaces – an internal space or space of confidence as opposed to an external space or space of fear. In other words, this means metaphorically positioning fear and confidence outside and inside the country for persuasive purposes. The study is based on a corpus of G.W. Bush’s texts – called the ‘Bush Corpus’ – gathered over a period of 4 years, from January 2001 to January 2004 – and including what we have considered as three genre types: Inaugural Address and State of the Union speeches (SU), Addresses to the Nation (AN) and Radio Addresses (RA). After a brief presentation of the theoretical framework (§1) and methodology (§2), the paper will delve into the text analysis (§3-6). Relevant examples will show how the conflict frame and the strategy of fear may be discursively constructed and related to each other at a macrotextual strategy level. The conclusions of the present study point to broader methodological perspectives (§7).

G. W. Bush’s Public Speeches to the Nation: Exploiting Emotion in Persuasion

FERRARI, FEDERICA
2007

Abstract

This chapter is part of a wider research project investigating the interplay of metaphor and appeals to emotions in George W. Bush’s political discourse. The study focuses on ways the president has created support and consensus for his ‘preventive war’; the analysis traces the emergence of a conflict frame and a strategy of fear as respectively the fundamental ideological basis and the main persuasion strategy of his line of argument. By ‘conflict frame’ we mean a conceptual model involving two opposing sides. In the typical conflict scenario of the fairy tale (Lakoff 1991), the two sides are not equal in merit: there is a hero – who may or may not coincide with the victim and has to defeat a villain, who by definition is the enemy. The disproportion between the two sides renders the dualism hierarchical, which often leads to a further radicalisation in what is called the ‘manichean frame’. The ‘manichean frame’, as a particular radicalisation of the ‘conflict frame’, for its peculiarity and frequency over our corpus, may preside over a kind of novel metaphorical process specifically characterizing Bush’s discourse. This is the case when a universal opposition between inherently Good and Evil is called on: the ‘inferior’ ontological status attributed to what is made to coincide with Evil (Good is Up vs. Bad/Evil is Down) justifies a series of related implications primarily concerning the conceptual definition of ‘safety’ and ‘justice’, e.g. “performing lesser evils in the name of good is justified” (Lakoff 2001: 3). By ‘strategy of fear’ we mean a persuasive attitude, which strategically works through the combination of two opposed emotions – fear and confidence – in correlation with the discursive construction of two opposed spaces – an internal space or space of confidence as opposed to an external space or space of fear. In other words, this means metaphorically positioning fear and confidence outside and inside the country for persuasive purposes. The study is based on a corpus of G.W. Bush’s texts – called the ‘Bush Corpus’ – gathered over a period of 4 years, from January 2001 to January 2004 – and including what we have considered as three genre types: Inaugural Address and State of the Union speeches (SU), Addresses to the Nation (AN) and Radio Addresses (RA). After a brief presentation of the theoretical framework (§1) and methodology (§2), the paper will delve into the text analysis (§3-6). Relevant examples will show how the conflict frame and the strategy of fear may be discursively constructed and related to each other at a macrotextual strategy level. The conclusions of the present study point to broader methodological perspectives (§7).
“Discourse and Contemporary Social Change”
381
404
Ferrari F.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/106362
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