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Figuring out political rhetoric : a quantitative content analysis of the use of rhetorical figures on the 2018 Flemish municipal election day

Edward De Vooght (UGent) , Sarah Van Leuven (UGent) and Liselot Hudders (UGent)
(2022) ACTA POLITICA. 57(3).
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Abstract
Recent decades of research into political discourse and political rhetoric have revealed how language and rhetorical figures in particular are employed by politicians to shape political realities and persuade voters. However, little is known about the overall use of figures beyond metaphors. Therefore, a quantitative content analysis was conducted on the use of figures by Flemish politicians to explore which figures were used and how political (election result and political affiliation), speakerrelated (seniority and renown) and delivery context factors (organization level and presence of the press) might influence this use. Our sample revealed both a great variety and frequency of figures beyond metaphors. Our findings also suggest a gap between rhetorical theory and practice as the range of figures studied most in literature does not accord with the figures found in our sample. Moreover, striking similarities were observed in figure use across speeches, as half of the used figures were repetitions. Although the figure use was not dependent of the political context or speaker-related factors, it was dependent of the delivery context, which suggests the existence of rhetorical registers. These findings might suggest that instead of being mainly strategic, the use of figures could also reflect a shared cultural view on political speech making. Theoretical and practical implications for rhetorical speech analysis are discussed and illustrated.
Keywords
Political Science and International Relations, Political discourse, Rhetorical figures, Rhetorical strategy, Rhetorical analysis, Metaphors, Political speech, Content analysis

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MLA
De Vooght, Edward, et al. “Figuring out Political Rhetoric : A Quantitative Content Analysis of the Use of Rhetorical Figures on the 2018 Flemish Municipal Election Day.” ACTA POLITICA, vol. 57, no. 3, 2022, p. 643, doi:10.1057/s41269-021-00212-9.
APA
De Vooght, E., Van Leuven, S., & Hudders, L. (2022). Figuring out political rhetoric : a quantitative content analysis of the use of rhetorical figures on the 2018 Flemish municipal election day. ACTA POLITICA, 57(3), 643. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41269-021-00212-9
Chicago author-date
De Vooght, Edward, Sarah Van Leuven, and Liselot Hudders. 2022. “Figuring out Political Rhetoric : A Quantitative Content Analysis of the Use of Rhetorical Figures on the 2018 Flemish Municipal Election Day.” ACTA POLITICA 57 (3): 643. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41269-021-00212-9.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Vooght, Edward, Sarah Van Leuven, and Liselot Hudders. 2022. “Figuring out Political Rhetoric : A Quantitative Content Analysis of the Use of Rhetorical Figures on the 2018 Flemish Municipal Election Day.” ACTA POLITICA 57 (3): 643. doi:10.1057/s41269-021-00212-9.
Vancouver
1.
De Vooght E, Van Leuven S, Hudders L. Figuring out political rhetoric : a quantitative content analysis of the use of rhetorical figures on the 2018 Flemish municipal election day. ACTA POLITICA. 2022;57(3):643.
IEEE
[1]
E. De Vooght, S. Van Leuven, and L. Hudders, “Figuring out political rhetoric : a quantitative content analysis of the use of rhetorical figures on the 2018 Flemish municipal election day,” ACTA POLITICA, vol. 57, no. 3, p. 643, 2022.
@article{8717570,
  abstract     = {{Recent decades of research into political discourse and political rhetoric have revealed how language and rhetorical figures in particular are employed by politicians to shape political realities and persuade voters. However, little is known about the overall use of figures beyond metaphors. Therefore, a quantitative content analysis was conducted on the use of figures by Flemish politicians to explore which figures were used and how political (election result and political affiliation), speakerrelated (seniority and renown) and delivery context factors (organization level and presence of the press) might influence this use. Our sample revealed both a great variety and frequency of figures beyond metaphors. Our findings also suggest a gap between rhetorical theory and practice as the range of figures studied most in literature does not accord with the figures found in our sample. Moreover, striking similarities were observed in figure use across speeches, as half of the used figures were repetitions. Although the figure use was not dependent of the political context or speaker-related factors, it was dependent of the delivery context, which suggests the existence of rhetorical registers. These findings might suggest that instead of being mainly strategic, the use of figures could also reflect a shared cultural view on political speech making. Theoretical and practical implications for rhetorical speech analysis are discussed and illustrated.}},
  author       = {{De Vooght, Edward and Van Leuven, Sarah and Hudders, Liselot}},
  issn         = {{0001-6810}},
  journal      = {{ACTA POLITICA}},
  keywords     = {{Political Science and International Relations,Political discourse,Rhetorical figures,Rhetorical strategy,Rhetorical analysis,Metaphors,Political speech,Content analysis}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{3}},
  title        = {{Figuring out political rhetoric : a quantitative content analysis of the use of rhetorical figures on the 2018 Flemish municipal election day}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.1057/s41269-021-00212-9}},
  volume       = {{57}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}

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