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Title: Adversarial moves in political discourse in the UK, US, and France
Author: Laporte, Camille Gabriel
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 9391
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis, based on a purpose-built corpus of political discourse from the UK, US, and France, focuses on electoral discourse and, more specifically, on adversarial relations within electoral discourse. It draws on theories of politeness and adversariality to characterise what adversarial discourse is made of, that is, it defines the adversarial moves performed by politicians in an electoral context. I firstly ask how does one do adversariality, second, I consider the importance of individual style in the performance of adversarial moves, and third, I review the goals that politicians hope to achieve. To carry out this analysis, I consider the three traditional discourse subtypes featured in electoral discourse: debates, speeches, and manifestos. The claim of this research is that adversarial discourse does not exclusively occur in an interactional environment, as it is currently defined, but that the moves it is made of, facework, Face Threatening Acts (FTAs), evasion techniques, and stancetaking, can also be carried out in the absence of the adversary/opponent. I set out to define adversarial moves as found in interactional electoral discourse: election debates. I focus on the 2012 US presidential election debate series between the Democrat and Republican “tickets.” Second, I consider the findings from the debate series and transpose them to campaign speeches, a context in which speech acts are still performed by individuals in front of an audience, thus, still in an interactional context. Finally, I ask whether the adversarial moves I have identified so far can be found in a monologic type of electoral discourse: manifestos. I conclude that the absence of direct interaction does not impair the performance of adversarial moves, that individual style as well as personality impact on that performance, and that different types of goals motivate adversarial moves.
Supervisor: Johnson, Alison ; Douglas, Fiona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available