Building on the theoretical lens of Critical Discourse Analysis and Conceptual Metaphor Theory, this paper examines the rhetorical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic of two right-wing populist leaders whose management of the emergency has been viewed as controversial, namely former American President Donald J. Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Through the critical examination of a dataset of speeches, press conferences and social media posts, and focusing on the discursive strategies employed in framing the pandemic, attributing responsibility, people-building, and policy-making, our study reveals that through different trajectories, the two leaders attempted to exploit the emergency to perform a “crisis within the crisis” in the typical populist style to serve their political interests, based on Moffitt’s (2015) framework. In his trademark style, Trump used the pandemic as a stage to call out and blame multiple enemies both at home (the Congress, the media) and abroad (China). On the other hand, Johnson, who, unlike Trump, did not lend an ear to conspiratorial thinking but still initially minimised the extent of the danger, framed the pandemic as the fight of a nation “walking alone” in a nationalist sense.

"Dramatising crisis. Rhetorical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by right-wing populist leaders in the USA and UK"

Lorenzetti Maria Ivana
2022

Abstract

Building on the theoretical lens of Critical Discourse Analysis and Conceptual Metaphor Theory, this paper examines the rhetorical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic of two right-wing populist leaders whose management of the emergency has been viewed as controversial, namely former American President Donald J. Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Through the critical examination of a dataset of speeches, press conferences and social media posts, and focusing on the discursive strategies employed in framing the pandemic, attributing responsibility, people-building, and policy-making, our study reveals that through different trajectories, the two leaders attempted to exploit the emergency to perform a “crisis within the crisis” in the typical populist style to serve their political interests, based on Moffitt’s (2015) framework. In his trademark style, Trump used the pandemic as a stage to call out and blame multiple enemies both at home (the Congress, the media) and abroad (China). On the other hand, Johnson, who, unlike Trump, did not lend an ear to conspiratorial thinking but still initially minimised the extent of the danger, framed the pandemic as the fight of a nation “walking alone” in a nationalist sense.
Critical Discourse Analysis
right-wing populism
political rhetoric
COVID-19
crisis
metaphor
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1069746
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