Chapter 6. Presenting politics

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The study of political persuasion has traditionally examined the components of communication in terms of the source, nature and recipients of messages. This approach is based on the assumption of communication as a psychological process involving a mental system that operates upon different political messages. However, another research tradition has examined performative aspects such as the use of metaphors, three-part lists, intonation of voice and so on. Bull (2007) argues that these two different approaches need not be incompatible and that they could be brought together to strengthen research across different genres of political communication. Whilst this would be a laudable attempt to build bridges between these two different approaches, it is argued that their underlying philosophical commitments cannot be glossed. These tensions are explored in terms of focusing on whether political communication should be considered as a matter of persuasion or as a matter of performance.


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