Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-4742
  • E-ISSN: 2211-4750
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Few of the central concepts of political discourse are as controversial as “freedom”/“liberty”. However, although “freedom” definitely belongs to the so-called “essentially contested concepts”, even “a contested concept has an uncontested core” (Lakoff 2006: 23–24). This uncontested core can be described as the core meaning of language-specific lexemes such as English , German , French or Italian . The core meaning can be established as the common ground underlying all more specific controversial uses and definitions.

Within political discourse, the context-specific uses of these lexemes can be described as persuasive definitions, that is, as instances of strategic maneuvering (cf. van Eemeren 2010), which try to establish one’s own use of these words as the politically dominant one and the one most widespread in the media.

With this theoretical background in mind, I would like to provide an overview of how is persuasively defined and strategically used within contemporary Italian political discourse. In order to do this, I have compiled a small corpus of party programs, political speeches, interviews, newspaper editorials and posts. From this empirical basis a list of argumentative strategies concerning explicit and implicit definitions of will be compiled and critically evaluated.


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