The Rhetoric of Political Leadership
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The Rhetoric of Political Leadership

Logic and Emotion in Public Discourse

Edited by Ofer Feldman

This timely book details the theoretical and practical elements of political rhetoric and their effects on the interactions between politicians and the public. Expert contributors explore the issues associated with political rhetoric from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including political science, linguistics, social psychology and communication studies. Chapters examine what makes a speech effective, politicians’ use of moral appeals in political advertising, political attacks on social media, and gender and emotion in political discourse.
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Chapter 2: Gender, emotion and political discourse: masculinity, femininity and populism

Carol Johnson


This chapter will analyze the ways in which political leaders/aspiring political leaders use gendered discourse that mobilizes differing conceptions of heterosexual masculinity or femininity in their attempts to gain electoral support. A particular focus will be on their (gendered) use of emotion, including its relationship to differing forms of “emotional regime” and “affective citizenship”, as well as links with populism. The chapter draws on U.S., U.K., New Zealand and Canadian examples, from George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, David Cameron, Justin Trudeau, Hillary Clinton, Theresa May, and Jacinda Ardern. The focus is on analyzing the ways in which the discourse is being used by politicians rather than on empirically measuring its success in influencing voters’ views. Nonetheless, some brief references are made to relevant research on public opinion. The chapter will also draw attention to the policy implications of some of the discourse being used.

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