In this essay, I will be conducting a discourse analysis on a speech made by Winston Churchill in the 1940s, when he informed the British public that they will be entering war. I will use sociological research which examines the discourse of politics to supply context for this speech. My research topic is to discover in this essay is how Prime Ministers use persuasive techniques to win the support of the people. To achieve this, I will be comparing Churchill’s speech to Tony Blair’s speech in 2003 when he declared war on Iraq, to see what changes and similarities of discourses there are, regarding persuading and gaining the support of the people. 1.2
The consideration of the audience and their specific thoughts and feelings is certainly an essential theme when making a speech. Politicians use the spoken word to rule, inform, strengthen and communicate with the public in order to implement their own, or their party’s politics. As van Dijk puts it, “social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context (2001: 352).” If we are the people who vote to put these politicians in power, we ought to become more aware of the strategies and tactics behind their speeches. This will give us more opportunity of making a fair judgement of the real meaning of the message, rather than the persuasive and deceiving language that often clouds our judgement. I will be using critical discourse analysis and rhetorical political analysis as it is an approach that is suitable for written texts and helpful for discovering institutional meanings that lay hidden within rhetorical strategies. This method will facilitate me in finding the ideological dimension of discourse within the speeches I am analyzing (Cameron 2001:123). 1.3
Using critical discourse analysis I will analyse how the language used in political speeches functions as a type of social practice that “constructs the objects of which it purports to speak (Cameron 2001:123)”. We can apply critical discourse analysis to expose the ways discourse is interwoven with society and culture, Wodak notes “society and culture are shaped by discourse, and at the same time constitute discourse (Wodak 2000:146)”. The use of language can reproduce or transform society and culture and it can also be ideological. A way to discover its ideological qualities is by exploring their “interpretation, reception and social effects (Wodak 2000:146)”. By examining speeches made by Winston Churchill and Tony Blair, I will seek to find the ideological messages that lie beneath their rhetoric language and uncover in what way their statements have persuaded the British public and if their discourses have gained the public’s support. 1.4
We now turn to the second indentified approach outlined in the introduction, rhetorical political analysis. It particularly focuses on the character and nature of rhetoric and its position in political analysis. Rhetorical style is concerned with the arrangement of the narrative. Johannesson (2000:65) refers to numerous ways of forming a classical rhetoric speech; both Churchill and Blair use ‘disposito’, giving their argument structure; and ‘narratio’, giving the listener essential background information. Historically, rhetorical has been used since the ancient Greek and Roman times and the Great philosopher Aristotle wrote a rhetoric textbook where he established the goals of this discipline. The old laws of the rhetoric lived on in the modern world mostly in politics, and the battles of the Second World War were not just fought on land, but also on the air by great orators such as Hitler and Churchill. Both Churchill and Blair use many of the classic rhetorical structures when delivering their speeches which I will examine further in the next section.
On the 13th May 1940 was Churchill’s first radio broadcast as Prime Minister with the direct audience being...
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