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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2012

Emotions as a rhetorical tool in political discourse


This paper aims at showing the way emotion is integrated in the political discourse and may contribute to enhance its efficiency. I argue that emotion is a rhetorical tool used by politicians, by media discourse and also by citizens in order to impact on the opinion or to build it (see Brader et al. 2011). I define a rhetorical tool as means of influencing the addressee in order to impose a point of view and to determine acting, i.e. a tool having a performative potential. A rhetorically strong discourse is a discourse that may generate power and thus sustain politics (cf. Salavastru 2005); from this point of view, the analysis of the political discourse is concerned with the evaluation of its rhetorical efficiency. I adopt the point of view of Discourse Analysis (cf. Pêcheux 1975, Van Dijk 1995 and 2006), considering that the institutional discourses like the political and media discourses occupy a dominant position in the process of ideological constructions and at the level of the performative effects. The analysis of emotionally charged linguistic units and of their potential/real discursive effects through some concrete cases not only helps to understand the way political rhetoric functions but also questions the relationship between politics, power, media and lay public.


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hal-01465658 , version 1 (13-02-2017)


  • HAL Id : hal-01465658 , version 1


Georgeta Cislaru. Emotions as a rhetorical tool in political discourse. Maria Zaleska. Rhetoric and Politics, Cambrige Scholar Press, pp.107-126, 2012. ⟨hal-01465658⟩
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