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 5: The French state of emergency: marginalization of the Muslim minority as a consequence of state self-legitimation

Bruno Mendelski

Abstract

This chapter investigates the French state of emergency (2015–17) in its discursive and operational features regarding the French Muslim minority. Methodologically, Critical Discourse Analysis is applied to deconstruct the discursive strategies designed to legitimize the state of emergency. Supported by the Post-Structuralism approach in International Relations (IR), I argue that the French state of emergency allowed the reconstruction of the French State identity in opposition to the identity of the “other”, which was terrorist “Islamist”. By operationalizing these identities via discourse, the French State may ensure, theoretically and materially, its legitimacy and functionality as a source of security for French society. However, this process resulted in arbitrary measures, which were selectively focused on the Muslim minority. The governmental subjective association between terrorism and religious extremism made this situation possible. The outstanding popular support for the state of emergency is another relevant variable in the process of sustaining the state of emergency.

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