Monologic follow-ups in political macro-discourse
Follow-ups have been often considered a primarily dialogic/conversational phenomenon. In this chapter I demonstrate that the concept of the follow-up could be extended to cover monologic discourses as well, especially those in which the speaker realizes a macro-goal over a number of texts produced in different contextual conditions. These dynamically evolving conditions make the speaker – as happens in dialogue – continually update and redefine her rhetorical choices to maintain realization of the macro-goal intact. Such an approach subsumes a ‘dialogic’ relation between the speaker and the shifting discourse context – rather than between the speaker and her specific interlocutor – and views follow-up as an instance of rhetoric that has been forcibly modified from the previous/initial instance, to keep enacting the speaker’s macro-goal against requirements of the new context. As an illustration, I show how monologic follow-ups work in G.W. Bush’s War-on-Terror discourse. In particular, I discuss how the macro-goal of Bush’s 2003-04 rhetoric of the Iraq War (legitimization of the pre-emptive military strike and the later US involvement) has been maintained in the ‘follow-up discourse’ responding to loss of the initial legitimization premise, i.e. the alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.