'We' and identity in political discourse: a case study of Hilary Clinton

Al-Qahtani, Hanaa Ali (2017). 'We' and identity in political discourse: a case study of Hilary Clinton. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

This study investigates the language use through which Hillary Clinton constructs her political identity by examining the extent to which the First-Person Plural Pronoun (FPPP) is important in the political discourse of this American woman politician. Drawing on Brown and Levinson’s (1987) notion of face and face-work, this study demonstrates how Hillary Clinton, as a woman in a position of power, actively exploits the referential flexibility of the FPPP in her campaign discourse to construct and negotiate her identities to strategically enhance her political power and/or protect her threatened negative face in different face-threatening situations. The study also demonstrates how Clinton actively exploits self-affiliation to acquire, neutralize or challenge power in her campaign discourse. The study also suggests a role of the power differential between the affiliator (candidate) and the affiliated group in determining the strategic function of the FPPP in the candidate’s discourse. The study also shows a key role of the macro-linguistic context in interpreting the meaning of the FPPP in the candidate’s discourse, and thus, a more profound understanding of the political identity of the candidate.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Hunston 1953-, SusanUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Evans, MelanieUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence:
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7873

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