Jonathan Charteris-Black sets out to raise critical awareness of the language used by political leaders to convince others. Such rhetoric. Politicians and Rhetoric: The Persuasive Power of Metaphor (second edition) Jonathan Charteris-Black Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, , pp. Politicians and Rhetoric: The Persuasive Power of Metaphor JONATHAN CHARTERIS-BLACK is Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the.

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The Persuasive Power of Metaphor.

Palgrave MacMillan Basingstoke This analogy implies that politicians who use metaphor effectively can lure supporters to their side, while those who cannot probably will not survive for long in the competitive arena of modern politics. As this book demonstrates, however, modern political discourse is thoroughly permeated with metaphor. Indeed, few hretoric seem capable of making important speeches without using metaphors to try to achieve their political goals. Churchill, arguably the greatest English political orator of the twentieth century, consistently used several prominent metaphors in his speeches between and For example, he often personified Britain positively and Nazi Germany negatively, imagining Britain as a hero and Nazi Germany as a monster p.

Second, Churchill frequently contrasted Britain and Nazi Germany by contrasting terms of light charteris-blackk darkness p. Third, Churchill often spoke of the war and the struggle to win it as a journey. On 10 Augustfor instance, he stated: But we have no right to count upon this. For Churchill and his listeners, in other words, winning the war was construed as successfully completing a journey whose destination was victory. While King often spoke of racial segregation as an illness, a prison, or as slavery, he usually spoke in Biblical terms of the political fight for freedom and equality as a journey through a harsh landscape to a promised land p.

Professor Jonathan Charteris-Black

That is, to understand abstract target domains like equality or segregation, King evoked concrete source domains like prisons or journeys.

For example, in a speech on 7 AprilKing said: In a speech three days later on 10 RhtoricKing chargeris-black said: As Charteris-Black points out, aggressive metaphors of conflict were commonly used by Thatcher. She had a habit of personifying problems as enemies and imagining politics as a battle.

Thatcher also used travel metaphors when saying in Octoberfor instance: She used health metaphors too when stating in Octoberfor example: As she stated in October Far be it from me to deride the sinner that repenteth. In general, Thatcher used metaphors to portray the Conservative Party and its values in positive terms and to portray the Labour Party and its values in negative terms.


For instance, in October she used the analogy of master and servant to represent a Conservative view that government is the servant of the people and to attribute to Labour the view that government is the master of the people p.

Because of the scandals that plagued his presidency, Clinton was often engaged in damage control. Clinton mainly used three types of metaphors. First, he often reified abstractions in either constructive or destructive terms.

While fulfilling a purpose can be thought of as traveling toward a destination, moving aimlessly or drifting around with no place to reach is a metaphorical sign of having no purpose. Clinton was a successful orator, but in this chapter Charteris-Black misses a few important points. That is to say, Blair was able to blend formal and informal styles in order to speak clearly and concisely in public.

Of the metaphors Blair frequently used, among the most common charteris-blaxk journey metaphors. Like Clinton, Blair also used reification metaphors.

Jonathan Charteris-Black, Politicians and Rhetoric. The Persuasive Power of Metaphor

For example, he did so to positively associate good government with creation and to negatively associate terrorism with destruction. To speak to the public in terms that the public could easily understand, Blair used personification metaphors too.

For instance, on 15 Februaryhe stated: Bush although, for some politicoans reason, a few speeches by George H. Bush are also discussed in this chapter.

But many politicians use speechwriters, which is why a skeptic would say that sounding simple-minded must be part of a well-designed marketing strategy for Bush. For example, on 12 SeptemberBush stated: Here punishment is understood metaphorically as having to pay a price to set the balance of justice right once again. The assumption that justice is a balance entails an evaluation: Such an assumption may be a primary motivation for the use of financial metaphors in the domain of morality p.

But there is some confusion about this matter. While Charteris-Black realizes that the moral accounting metaphor exists in many different cultures p. What is known as rater reliability in social science is thus a problem here. Metaphor, that is, can occur at the most subtle level and need not always require explicit reference to the source domain.


Third, the speeches discussed throughout the book are assumed to be persuasive, but they are never empirically proven to be so.

A vital cause and effect relation, in other words, is simply presupposed. But to study persuasion is another matter. It entails showing that an audience which believed X before a speech then believed Y after the speech.

Showing that Blair did so would provide evidence for the claim that the speech was indeed persuasive. Coercion is the product of force whereas persuasion is the product of rhetoric. Moreover, ideology is discussed at the start of this book and myth at the end of it. It should be clear that both terms have negative connotations. But the usefulness of the term in discourse analysis is questionable.

One could analyze political rhetoric, especially of the deliberative genre, without discussing myth at all. In Party Conference or Party Convention speeches, one preaches to the converted as it were and the rhetoric will reflect rhftoric fact of that rhetorical situation. In House of Commons or State politiciaans the Union speeches, however, audiences are less homogeneous.

Therefore, the same number of similar types of speeches delivered before similar types pliticians audiences should be analyzed in order to get a more balanced yet comprehensive picture of the rhetoric of US Presidents and UK Prime Ministers. Charteris-Black is also right to note that metaphor is often just one rhetorical tool among many used for the purpose of persuasion. Rhetoric, in other words, cannot be reduced to metaphor alone. However, metaphor remains important because metaphorical phrases often form the core of sound bites that are recycled endlessly by the press.

However, one would have to wait until Obama leaves office to write such rheotric chapter. His research re-defines rhetoric and poetics within the framework of cognitive linguistics. Lexis Journal in English Lexicology. Contents – Previous document – Next document. Full text PDF Send by e-mail. Browse Index Authors Keywords. Follow us RSS feed. Lexis Journal in English Lexicology Briefly: Journal dedicated to the English lexicon Publisher: