The construction and negotiation of meaning in Scottish political discourse : a case study of the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections
The investigation explores the potential effects of the new constitutional arrangements and electoral system on the campaign discourse of Scottish political parties. The four weeks of election campaigning are studied, from the 1st April to the 1st May 2003. Analysis focuses on many of the main texts produced during the election campaign, including manifestos, party election broadcasts and newspaper articles. Conducted in the Critical Discourse Analysis tradition, this investigation combines insights from Fairclough’s social focus and three dimensional analysis of discourse and van Dijk and Chilton’s cognitive approaches. This synthesis of approaches is an attempt to produce an analysis that can explicate both social and cognitive aspects of ideological discourse production. The thesis explores the dynamics of party political competition and ideological negotiation in devolved Scottish politics, with particular attention paid to the discourse of coalition and nationalist politics. The thesis begins by outlining background information on the events leading up to Scottish devolution. Discussion then focuses on the ideological character of Scottish politics, both in terms of public opinion and the positions of political parties, as represented by the content of their manifestos. Continuing the analysis of party manifestos, chapter 3 explores discursive strategies used by political parties to construct identities and negotiate relationships in light of actual or potential coalition government. The following chapter moves the analysis onto party election broadcasts, taking particular interest in the rhetorical methods employed in the positive and negative presentation of policies. Chapter 5 analyses the press reception of party election broadcasts. Having established the importance of a nationalist agenda in Scottish politics during previous sections, Chapter 6 investigates representations of Scottish national identity in election discourse.