Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139


Studies from a range of disciplinary perspectives have highlighted how the public rhetoric of the Bush administration has shaped the representation of the conflict which has followed 9/11. However, the literature in this area raises but does not itself address the question of how the administration’s use of ‘terror’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist(s)’ contributes to this representation. This paper addresses the question by providing a preliminary analysis of how these terms participate in the grammar of twelve of George W. Bush’s speeches since 9/11. Drawing on Systemic Functional Grammar, the analysis suggests that ‘terror’ has become interchangeable with ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist(s)’, resulting in the personification of ‘terror’ as an abstract agent. The implications of this construction are explored in relation to the literature on the rhetoric associated with the ‘war on terror’.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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