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Title: Commemorating history and communicating hope : a mixed-methods study on how political leaders construct who 'we' and 'they' have been or can become in public ceremonial communication
Author: Gkinopoulos, Theofilos
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 907X
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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The present thesis aims to understand the ways that political leaders craft a sense of 'us' and 'them' as part of their identity entrepreneurship process. The social psychological literature of entrepreneurial identity is underpinned by some problematic assumptions that limit understanding of the meaning, formation and influence of social identity in action. Political leaders as entrepreneurs are presented or treated as a homogeneous group in terms of the embodied properties and powers related to the entire nation, which they govern or aim to do so, rather than as representatives of a uniquely embodied political group. Therefore, findings of the present thesis build on the literature of social identity approach to political leadership in two ways: First, by suggesting concrete hypotheses about how leaders with different amounts of political support might define in various ways, as identity entrepreneurs, who 'we' are and who 'we' are not in democratic contexts marked by stability or crisis. Second, by considering different temporal accounts, in the form of who 'we' or 'they' were (past), are (present) or can become (future), as social identity maintenance strategies employed by political leaders. In Chapter 1, I introduce the thesis, set the scene, list the research questions that this thesis aims to answer and provide a chapter-by-chapter break down framework. In Chapter 2, I summarise previous work on commemoration practice alongside research on social identity approach to political leadership and studies beyond the social identity approach to leadership that focus on group identities and discourses of 'we' and 'they'. In Chapter 3, I present the methodological framework of analysis of commemorative political speeches. Chapters 4 (content analysis), 5 (discourse analysis of 'we' and 'they') and 6 (temporal positioning of 'we' and 'they') present the findings of analysis of the speeches. I conclude, in this thesis, with a discussion, where I summarise findings, address implications of the current research and propose directions for future research.
Supervisor: Hegarty, Peter ; LeRoux-Rutledge, Emily Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral