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Politicians and Rhetoric: The Persuasive Power of Metaphor [Paperback]

Professor Jonathan Charteris-Black
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

26 Oct 2011
The language of persuasion looks both outwards and inwards: politicians promise a better future based on an evaluation of the current external reality, but they communicate this vision by activating deep-seated ideas, values and feelings that are hidden within the audience. This fully updated second edition analyses the rhetoric of three additional politicians – Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and Enoch Powell – as well as revised accounts of the original six politicians to produce a comprehensive study of some renowned exponents of persuasion. It also contains a new chapter on the role of metaphor in political communication. Successful politicians are those who have credible stories to tell, who can involve us with the drama of the present by explaining what is right and wrong and who convince us that they are better than their opponents. This book explains how their use of metaphors and myths create credible and consistent stories that help us to understand the rhetorical means through which persuasion occurs.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2 edition (26 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023025165X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230251656
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'This book is a fascinating exercise in the art of critical metaphor analysis of political speeches,including recent speeches by G W Bush and Obama. It addresses the vital need to raise awareness of metaphor's role in myth making, simplification by binary thinking, and affective evaluation, which often operate at an unconscious level for the audiences of political speeches. Analysis of metaphor along with other rhetorical schemes such as repetition,chiasmus and rhetorical questions,is well integrated into the author's model of political rhetoric/persuasion. The second edition helpfully includes several new references to recent work on metaphor and ideology.' - Andrew Goatly,Lingnan University,China

'In an age of growing distrust in politicians, their promises, their speeches, and their decisions, Jonathan Charteris-Black succeeds in convincing us of the 'complex art of rhetoric'. Some politicians' speeches have become salient elements of collective experiences, they are repeated over and over again, they are quoted and re-contextualised. The precise, detailed and careful analyses of speakers, speeches, and the images (metaphors) employed over decades and centuries make it abundantly clear that the genre of speeches retains its important role in spite and also perhaps because of the new media and new forms of politics. This innovative and very well written book is essential reading for all who want to understand how 'politics functions'.' - Ruth Wodak, Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies, Lancaster University, UK

'Overall...this book is highly recommended for readers interested in questions of political discourse or language, particularly given its methodological contribution to a field dominated by issues and texts of abstract theorisation.'- Lee
Jarvis, Political Studies Review
 
'This book will interest those fascinated with linguistics, rhetoric and political communication. It can also serve as a guide for those wary of political 'spin' who want to develop critical skills in discerning ethical integrity from nefarious intention. The book provides lucid insight into the way metaphors and political myths are developed by politicans seeking to achieve an intended effect. The artful use of language, Chateris-Black shows, can be incredibly persuasive.' LSE Blog

Book Description

This book explains how politicians persuade by providing a theory of persuasion and nine separate case studies of the speeches of American and British politicians

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful 19 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
beautiful read and the methodology it teaches and level of detail this book goes into. I am very impressed and delighted with the author. One of my rhetorical bible. I'm reading it over and over again. I love it!!!
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding analyses of political rhetoric and metaphor usage 24 Sep 2014
By andrewjgallagher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I highly recommend this amazing book entitled Politicians and Rhetoric: The Persuasive Power of Metaphor, 2nd Edition by Jonathan Charteris-Black (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011). Charteris-Black is a professor of linguistics at the University of the West of England in Bristol, England. Here is a brief review.

The book consists of twelve chapters. The first two chapters provide an excellent summary of the importance of understanding metaphors in the art of rhetoric, persuasion, and speech making used by all successful politicians. The next nine chapters consist of incredibly insightful analyses of how certain political leaders have used metaphors in their speeches. These politicians include four giants of British politics: Winston Churchill, Enoch Powell, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair along with five American leaders: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The final chapter provides an analysis of the nexus of myth, metaphor and political leadership.

In each chapter, Charteris-Black analyzes the speeches of the politician with a specific theme that characterizes their particular rhetoric. For example, he discusses Winston Churchill in terms of the heroic myth, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the messianic myth, Ronald Reagan and the romantic myth, Margaret Thatcher and the myth of Boudicca, George Bush and the rhetoric of moral accounting and Barack Obama and the myth of the American Dream. Each person’s speeches are analyzed in the historical context and particular political environment. He explains how we can understand the rhetoric of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher in terms of myths of heroes or past warriors. Churchill had to rally British citizens to make sacrifices for the war effort and had to persuade the Americans to become their allies. He was successful at doing this by using metaphors of journeys and heroes. Thatcher tapped into the myth of Boudicca, the 1st century Celtic queen who led an uprising against the Roman army. Thatcher used metaphors of conflict as in the concept that political opponents are enemies to get the British to rally around her as Boudicca did centuries earlier. Charteris-Black also provides insightful analyses of the speeches of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all in the context of difficult political climates.

By far the most fascinating chapter for me was the section on Martin Luther King, Jr. Having analyzed his speeches myself, I was in awe of the depth of analysis that Charteris-Black presented in this book. He analyzed his speeches in terms of the Messianic myth, journey metaphors, landscape metaphors and in the context of the segregation and non-violence of the 1960s. This chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

My only criticisms of the book consist of a few editorial oversights. Although the author provides excellent appendices on his corpuses, a list of conceptual metaphors analyzed in the book, and a general index, cited authors are not included in any of the indices, a strange fact given the excellence of the scholarship throughout the book. Also, there is an inconsistent use of italics in examples of metaphors. In most cases, the conceptual metaphors being analyzed are italicized in quotations from the corpus while in other cases there are no italics. More substantively, in the chapter on Margaret Thatcher, Charteris-Black compares her to Boudica but never gives a background on the Celtic warrior, nor does he make explicit how Thatcher compared to Boudica. Perhaps British readers are more familiar with both Thatcher and Boudica but Americans may have to do a bit of research to understand the relationship between the two as I had to do.

Finally, I also found it odd that Charteris-Black uses a theory of metaphor analysis called blending theory without citing any references for its origin. I assume he is referring to the theories proposed by Fauconnier and Turner (2002) or the nice summary of the theory in Koveces (2004) but he does not mention either. Despite this omission, he makes great use of blending theory and, while although a bit cumbersome to explain, promises to be a very useful way to explain metaphors. No one quite understands how citizens understand political metaphors, using blended theory may be a way to fine tune our analyses of metaphor usage.

Overall, Politicians and Rhetoric is a great addition to our study of metaphors in politics. Charteris-Black shows a masterful understanding of classical and modern rhetoric, metaphor analysis and current political machinations of skilled orators. It is essential reading for any student of English, linguistics, or political science.
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a gift... 14 Feb 2014
By Diana Loring - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I only skimmed it and it looked of great interest. It was received well.
I'd like to read it some day...i may have to borrow it!
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