Political Discourse: Multidisciplinary Approaches

26- 27.06.2015
University College London

Political discourse has long been the domain of critical linguists on the one hand, and political scientists on the other. Critical linguists understand political discourse primarily as language in the context of politics, while political science understands political discourses as ‘big D’ discourse (Gee 2005), as systems of knowledge and ideology.

In the last few decades, however, linguists, translation scholars and political scientists have begun to take a more interdisciplinary stance, combining both approaches to D/discourse. In political science, the study of political speech and rhetoric begins to be seen as essential for scholars of politics, since ‘the political speech is a snapshot of ideology in action’ (Finlayson, Martin 2008, p. 449). At the same time, linguistic discourse analysts have begun contextualizing their analysis using political and social science methods, and argue that these methods are necessary in order to explain results of linguistic analysis (see for example Harris, Rampton 2014; Wodak 2014). This has also had an influence on translation studies, where cooperation with political discourse analysis is perceived as a necessity (e.g. Schäffner 2004).

This two-day conference will explore and debate the diversity of methods used to analyse political discourse in order to encourage the conversation between disciplines involved. It will discuss the merits and issues of different methodological approaches to discourse and explore which insights discourse analysts can give into the cultural dependencies of political discourses in a European and global context.
We invite papers from researchers working in all disciplines concerning political discourse analysis (linguistics, political science, history, translation studies). We especially welcome comparative papers on a variety of European and international political cultures.

Alan Finlayson (University of East Anglia)
Ruth Wodak (Lancaster University)

Papers will be 20 minutes in length, with 10 minutes after each paper for questions and discussion.

The deadline for abstracts of 250-300 words (excluding bibliography) is 6 March 2015. Abstracts and queries about the conference should be sent to the conference organisers, Geraldine Horan and Michael Kranert (email: politicaldiscourse2015@gmail.com).

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