The Rhetorical Analysis of Politics
University of Manchester
August 21, 2009
This paper develops ideas for a new interpretive framework through which to analyze rhetoric in politics. It employs Michel Meyer’s conception of questioning in order to conceive of the state as facing a question of legitimacy, which it is necessary to answer. It then conceives of rhetoric and law as different forms of answers. This allows us to conceive of the role of rhetoric in the legitimation of the state alongside law in an integrated view. The state can therefore be conceived of as a rhetorical entity, and so its elements can characterized through Aristotle’s rhetorical scheme, ethos, pathos, and logos. We can also then employ Meyer’s definition of rhetoric as the negotiation of the distance between subjects in regard to a question, structured through these three rhetorical concepts. This interpretive epistemology allows us to analyze the rhetorical qualities of political discourse as well as the non-discursive aspects of social action, including the state and political institutions. Developments in the legitimation of the modern state can then be framed in rhetorical terms.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: interpretivism, rhetoric, questioning, Michel Meyerworking papers series
Date posted: August 23, 2009
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