Undemocratic discourse: A review of theory and research on political discourse

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This essay begins by suggesting that political discourse analysis should identify the inadequacies of existing discourse relative to an ideal model of democratic deliberation. Modern writings on political discourse are then reviewed, connecting related concepts and theories from a variety of academic disciplines. The review discusses lexicon (vocabulary, technical words, imprecise words, euphemisms and loaded words), grammar (speech acts, implicature, syntax, pronouns and naming conventions), rhetorical strategies (integrative complexity, rituals, metaphors and myths) and conversational tactics (turn-taking and agenda-setting). The conclusion offers suggestions for future theory and research on political discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-500
Number of pages32
JournalDiscourse & Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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