Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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This paper analyzes the legitimation strategies used by Jerry John Rawlings, a Ghanaian revolutionary leader, to license his revolutionary actions, including political enemy executions and a crackdown on corrupt practices. It adapts and extends van Leeuwen’s legitimation framework by demonstrating how Rawlings exploited historical memory and the notion of sacrifice in conjunction with the strategies of authorization, rationalization and moralization to formulate his revolutionary rhetoric. The analysis reveals that the legitimation strategies enabled Rawlings to project a patriot-cum-nationalist identity as well as construct himself as a noble revolutionary mandated by the people of Ghana to represent their interests, protect them from evildoers and lead the process of social transformation. The study illustrates the persuasive power of revolutionary discourses in terms of how they function ideologically in the message they communicate (or exaggerate) and conceal.


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