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Surviving Through Obliqueness: Language of Politics in Emerging Democracies
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Editors: Gyasi Obeng, Samuel .; Hartford, Beverly (Indiana University)
Book Description:
This volume deals with political discourses from Africa, Asia, East Asia, and Balkans. The volume demonstrates that indirectness and implicitness are pervasive in political discourse and that rhetorical indirection expressed in dense metaphorical speech, allusions, similes, imitation and influence, and through a language other than the political actor's own, characterize political discourse in emerging democracies. Given the cultural and contextual importance in the interpretation of indirectness, a thorough understanding of the socio-political contexts of the discourses, the historical backgrounds of the political actors, their ideologies and the political institutions within which they function are necessary for a proper understanding the discourses. Indirectness strategies are used for ornamenting and softening the offensive intent of face threatening texts. They heighten or control the potency of the spoken word and may be used to praise, caution, or criticize. Indirectness may also intensify or obviate a crises. Through indirectness politicians are able to turn potential tension and conflict into parody, mock it, or take a high moral stance.
The authors demonstrate that metaphors are central in molding the electorates' psyche and boosting nationalist enthusiasm in and support for ideologies and policies. Politicians are able to capture the imagination and aspirations of the electorate through metaphors. Politicians also use allusions to demonstrate their quick wit, engage in a verbal power struggle, induce the public to take an interest in politics.
It is shown that it is sometimes safer to speak the politically unspeakable in a foreign language. Use of the foreign language may be necessitated by the configurations of power and ideology exhibited in the political ecology.
On intertextuality, the volume demonstrates that political actors embed>arguments and points of view of others in their own master narratives in a way that foregrounds and privileges their own standpoints. Through embedding, political actors suppress others points of view while simultaneously amplifying and solidifying their own. The linguistic, pragmatic and metapragmatic strategies that political actors employ bear an intertextual relationship with other texts in their sociopolitical domains. By appropriating and/or alluding to liked or venerated characters in either popular literature or the scripture political actors get themselves liked and consequently elected.
Finally, the authors demonstrate that the ambiguity involved in political discourse is discussed to the extent that making their meanings blurry and by that enables politicians to discuss themes of political delicacy whose verbalization in plain talk can offend other politicians or the public, or cost the politicians their jobs. The vagueness and inherent ambiguity in indirectness enable political actors to highlight the pleasant side of an issue while hiding the politically hurtful side. Indirectness helps bridge the gap between reason and emotion.

Table of Contents:
Contributors;

Prologue;

Introduction;

Chapter 1 - The Language of Politics; pp. 5-18

Chapter 2 - Language and Politics in East African Swahili Prose: Intertextuality in Kezilahabi’s Dunia Uwanja Wa Fujo “The World, A Playground of Chaos”; pp. 19-29

Chapter 3 - Ujamaa (Socialism) Metaphors: The Basis of President Nyerere’s Political Terminology; pp. 31-43

Chapter 4 - Political Discourse in Albania: Memoirs Before the 1990’s; pp. 45-68

Chapter 5 - Allusion in Current Taiwan Political Discourse: A Case Study of the Year 2000 Taiwan Presidential Election; pp. 69-82

Chapter 6 - Metaphors in Ghanaian Political Communication;
pp. 83-99

Chapter 7 - Royal Titles and Names as Pointers to Political Office: Exemplification from Asante Royal Titles Bestowed on Three African Americans; pp. 101-112

Chapter 8 - Dangerous Words in a Strange Language; pp. 113-129

Epilogue;
Index

   Binding: Hardcover
   Pub. Date: 2007
   ISBN: 1-59033-304-7
   Status: AV
  
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
  
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Surviving Through Obliqueness: Language of Politics in Emerging Democracies