Volume 17, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Based on the idea that the quality of a democracy may be measured against the quality of its public communication, this paper deploys Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to investigate a Nigerian gubernatorial concession speech in discursive terms. It argues that as an uncommon genre in political discourse in an emerging democracy this hybridised speech both indexes a growing culture of ‘fair competition’ in Nigeria’s eighteen-year-old civilian rule and presents the incumbent as a deft political actor who strategically claims political capital. The paper examines the text’s generic structure, the political and other actors mentioned or implied in it, its manipulation of pronominal references for rhetorical effect, as well as the epistemic uncertainty implied by a query-concession sequence noticed in it. Drawing on the concession speech literature, the paper charts a course for studying the concession speech as an emerging genre in a neonatal democracy like Nigeria.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Adetunji, Akin
    2006 “Inclusion and exclusion in political discourse: Deixis in Olusegun Obasanjo’s speeches.” Journal of Language and Literature5 (2): 177–191.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Aziken, Emmanuel
    2014 “Implications of Fayose’s Victory”. Vanguard, June23 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Blommaert, Jan
    2005Discourse: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511610295
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511610295 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bourdieu, Pierre
    1986 “The forms of capital.” InHandbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. byJohn G. Richardson, 241–258. New York: Greenwood Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. 1991Language & Symbolic Power. Translated byGino Raymond and Matthew Adamson. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Chilton, Paul
    2005 “Missing Links in Mainstream CDA: Modules, Blends and the Critical Instinct.” InA New Agenda in (Critical) Discourse Analysis, ed. byRuth Wodak, and Paul A. Chilton, 19–51. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/dapsac.13.05chi
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dapsac.13.05chi [Google Scholar]
  7. Corcoran, Paul E.
    1994 “Presidential Concession Speeches: The Rhetoric of Defeat.” Political Communication, 11, no.2: 109–131. doi: 10.1080/10584609.1994.9963019
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.1994.9963019 [Google Scholar]
  8. Corcoran, Paul. E.
    1995 “Presidential Endings: Conceding Defeat.” InPresidential Campaign Discourse. Strategic Communication Problems, ed. byKathleen E. Kendall, 255–91. Albany, New York: SUNY Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Corcoran, Paul E.
    1998 “The Rhetoric of Triumph and Defeat: Australian Federal Elections, 1940–1993.” Australian Journal of Communication, 25 (1): 69–86.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Fairclough, Isabella, and Norman Fairclough
    2012Political Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Fairclough, Norman
    2000New Labour, New Language?London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. 2003Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. London: Routledge.10.4324/9780203697078
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203697078 [Google Scholar]
  13. Fayemi, Kayode
    2014 “If this is the will of the people.” The Vanguard, June22 2014 AccessedJune 23, 2014. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/06/ekiti-read-gov-fayemi-will-people-speech/
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Forchtner, Bernhard
    2014 “Rhetorics of Judge-penitence: Claiming Moral Superiority through Admissions of Past Wrongdoing.” Memory Studies, 7 (1): 409–424. doi: 10.1177/1750698013511978
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1750698013511978 [Google Scholar]
  15. Hansson, Sten
    2015 “Discursive Strategies of Blame Avoidance in Government: A Framework for Analysis.” Discourse & Society, Vol.26(3): 297–322. doi: 10.1177/0957926514564736.
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926514564736 [Google Scholar]
  16. Habermas, Jurgen
    1984The Theory of Communicative Action. Boston: Beacon Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Halliday, Michael A. K.
    1994Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Holly, Werner
    2008 “Tabloidisation of Political Communication in the Public Sphere.” InThe Handbook of Political Communication in the Public Sphere, ed. ByRuth Wodak, and Veronica Koller, 317–342. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Kampf, Zohar
    2009 “Public (Non-) apologies: The Discourse of Minimizing Responsibility.” Journal of Pragmatics, Vol.41(11): 2257–2270. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2008.11.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2008.11.007 [Google Scholar]
  20. Lakoff, Robin T.
    2001 “The Rhetoric of the Extraordinary Moment: The Concession and Acceptance Speeches of Al Gore and George W. Bush in the 2000 Presidential Election.” Pragmatics, Vol.11(3): 309–327. doi: 10.1075/prag.11.3.04lak
    https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.11.3.04lak [Google Scholar]
  21. Levinson, Stephen C.
    1983Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511813313
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511813313 [Google Scholar]
  22. McLuhan, Marshall
    1964Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. McNair, Brian
    (2011) An Introduction to Political Communication. 5th ed.London: Routledge.10.4324/9780203828694
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203828694 [Google Scholar]
  24. Mieroop, Dorien V. D.
    (2010) “Making Transportable Identities Relevant as a Persuasive Device. The Case of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Concession Speech.” Hermes – Journal of Language and Communication Studies, 44: 229–239.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Neville-Shepard, Ryan
    2014 “Triumph in Defeat: The Genre of Third Party Presidential Concessions.” Communication Quarterly, 62: 214–232. doi: 10.1080/01463373.2014.890119
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01463373.2014.890119 [Google Scholar]
  26. Punch Newspaper
    Punch Newspaper. Punch, June27 2014 Editorial.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Ritter, Kurt, and Buddy Howell
    2001 “Ending the 2000 Presidential Election: Gore’s Concession Speech and Bush’s Victory Speech.” American Behavioral Scientist, 44: 2314–2330. doi: 10.1177/00027640121958348
    https://doi.org/10.1177/00027640121958348 [Google Scholar]
  28. Steiner, Jurg, Andre Bachtiger, Markus Sporndli, and Marco R. Steenbergen
    2005Deliberative Politics in Action: Analysing Parliamentary Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511491153
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511491153 [Google Scholar]
  29. Van Dijk, T. A.
    1998Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Vanguard Newspaper
    Vanguard Newspaper. “Fayemi is the Difference.” Vanguard, June24 2014 Editorial.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Vile, John
    2002Presidential Winners and Losers: Words of Victory and Concession. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Waldman, Michael
    2003My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of America’s Presidents, from George Washington to George W. Bush. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Washbourne, Neil
    2010Mediating Politics. Berkshire: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Education.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. White, Ronald C.
    2002Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural. New York: Simon & Schuster.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. 2005The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln through his Words. NY: Random House.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Willyard, Jennifer, and Kurt Ritter
    2005 “Election 2004 Concession and Victory Speeches: The Influence of Genre, Context, and Speaker on Addresses by Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates.” American Behavioral Scientist, 49(3): 488–509. doi: 10.1177/0002764205279439
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764205279439 [Google Scholar]
  37. Wodak, Ruth
    2011The Discourse of Politics in Action – Politics as Usual. 2nd ed.Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9780230316539
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230316539 [Google Scholar]
  38. 2015The Politics of Fear. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Wodak, Ruth, and Michael Meyer
    Eds. 2009Methods for Critical Discourse Analysis. 2nd ed.London: SAGE.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Yule, George
    1996The Study of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Yuravlivker, Dror
    2006 “Peace without Conquest”: Lyndon Johnson’s Speech of April 7, 1965. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 36 (3): 457–481. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27552240
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Zimmerman, Don H.
    1988 “On conversation: The Conversation Analytic Perspective.” Annals of the International Communication Association, 11 (1): 406–432. doi: 10.1080/23808985.1988.11678699
    https://doi.org/10.1080/23808985.1988.11678699 [Google Scholar]
  43. 1992 Achieving Context, Openings in Emergency Calls.” InText in Context: Contributions to Ethnomethodology, ed. byGraham Watson, and Robert M. Seiler, 35–51. Newbury Park: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error