The pragmatics of symbolic distance crossing
This book proposes a new theory (“proximization theory”) in the area of political/public legitimization discourse. Located at the intersection of Pragmatics, Cognitive Linguistics and critical approaches, the theory holds that legitimization of broadly consequential political/public policies, such as pre-emptive interventionist campaigns, is best accomplished by forced construals of virtual external threats encroaching upon the speaker and her audience’s home territory. The construals, which proceed along spatial, temporal and axiological lines, are forced by strategic deployment of lexico-grammatical choices drawn from the three domains. This proposal is illustrated primarily in the in-depth analysis of the 2001-2010 US discourse of the War-on-Terror, and secondarily in a number of pilot studies pointing to a wide range of further applications (environmental discourse, health communication, cyber-threat discourse, political party-representation). The theory and the empirical focus of the book will appeal to researchers working on interdisciplinary projects in Pragmatics, Semantics, Cognitive Linguistics, Critical Discourse Studies, as well as Journalism and Media Studies.