Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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This article explores how non-elitist discourse of members of a political party can be considered as rhetorically well-equipped and ideologically powerful in legitimising a party’s controversial political narrative. By drawing on a well-known contentious political project – the New Labour ‘project’ of the UK’s Labour Party- the article proposes a way for party members’ discourse to be considered for this mode relatively autonomous rhetorical agency. Incorporating conceptualisations and methodologies of rhetorical and discursive psychology, the analysis of Labour Party members’ reflections on New Labour reveals how rhetorical power operates beyond the level of people consistently drawing on particular linguistic or grammatical repertoires. The article concludes that that rhetorical agency is not confined to those with sophisticated access to and knowledge of language’s workings and postulates that discourses of legitimisation may be as characteristic for their contradictions and inconsistencies as they are for their universal principles and grammar-like organisation. Keywords: rhetorical psychology; discursive psychology; political narratives; non-elitist discourse; party members and New Labour


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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