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Power and Ideology in Political Discourse.

Byline: Shirin Zubair


This article is an effort to deconstruct the language used in Pakistani politicians' speeches using Fairclough's model of critical discourse analysis. Moreover, special attention is paid to highlight the projection of ideology in the political discourse with linguistic analysis of the speeches of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. I have tried to find out that the speaker positions himself/herself in a particular way. Similarly s/he positions the audience in a particular way. The discursive practices (such as persuasion through emotional exploitation, repetition, and the use of threes) and linguistics choices (such as pronouns, figurers of speech) of the two politicians have been analyzed. The article also highlights that the politician's use of language is characterized by ideological underpinnings; the art of rhetoric and persuasion through arousing emotions of the masses are used to achieve political ambitions.


The study in hand is a kind of qualitative research. Masses who participate in political gatherings have not been interviewed, nor the socio-educational background of the speakers has been mapped out in this study. Contrary to it, the analysis centers mainly on the audio/video cassettes of both the politicians' speeches, as well as the underlying assumption that the speaker always projects an ideology in his/her discourse, and how s/he uses the element of power to project and maintain that ideology.

The rationale behind undertaking this research came to my mind when I thought that language is not simply a readily identifiable object in reality. Language is a shorthand way of referring to something, which is not a single homogenous phenomenon at all, but rather a complex of company different registers used in different kinds of situations by different people differently. These registers have much more in common, but at the same time, each register in definably distinct from others. Hence, in this analysis I want to see if the language used in political speeches is a register or not, and, if it is, what makes it so.

When I was browsing around in the world of radio, T.V. and newspapers, looking randomly at the speeches of the Pakistani politicians, I found out that power and ideology are two dominant features of the language of these speeches. This gave me a direction. With this thought in mind I decided to deconstruct the politicians' speeches to find out the underlying assumption that language gives a power to the speaker and the latter uses this power to project his/her ideology. The linguistic contents of the speeches are deconstructed from the perspective of a neutral observer.

Moreover, the research is conducted in the eight of challenging the texts of the speeches.

Language Constitutes People's Realities

Language has been a focus of people's curiosity and intellectual probing for millennia. Thus, questions about language and how it works are not new i.e., inquiry into the nature of language occupied not only Plato and Aristotle, but other Greek and Indian philosopher-grammarians as well. The importance of language can be surmised on account of its various roles in human life. Mainly, it is the only tool to capture human thoughts. It is also the only tool to study the past, present and future of human society. Thus, language is important "as a means of understanding ourselves and our society and of resolving some of the problems and tensions that arise from human interaction" (David Crystal, 1991).

So language and society are inseparable; language cannot exist without society, and society cannot progress and interact without it. Language is a part of society and cannot in any way be distinct and separate from it. It is a phenomenon not independent or disconnected from society. Language is a "social institution, deeply implicated in culture, in society, in political relations at every level" (Cameron, 1997).

The above-mentioned discussion presents one perspective of language. However, there is another common, but modern, perspective that language plays a role in constituting people's realities. "Language plays a vital role in constituting what people perceive as reality"(Marry Talbot, Karen Atkinson and David Atkinson, 2003). It makes a power contribution in naturalizing, or in creating a common sense about what otherwise appears to be opposite to people's interests and aims.

Language, Power and creation of Common sense

In general common sense the term power is associated with physical strength, and absence of power means the absence of that strength. The Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary (1991) writes, "If someone has power, they have a particular physical ability, skill or opportunity to do something". However, contrary to it, the modernists opine that power is a widely vague term. It cannot be confined and associated to one quality only. It is not monolithic--- that is, it does not emanate from one source such as the barrel of a gun, or the ownership of the means of production or the possession of physical strength. There are many simultaneous dimensions of power --- such as class, race, ethnicity, gender, generation, sexuality, etc. In the modern world power is believed to have certain elaborate social relations. In this regard Foucault's metaphor for power "net -like organization" can be quoted to highlight complexities involved in the modern concept of power.

"Power in Foucault's view ....... is a force and an effect which exists and circulates in a web of social interaction." (Marry Talbot, Karen Atkinson and David Atkinson, 2003).Power is, thus, something that is employed through a net like organization. And not only do individuals circulate between its threads; they are rather always in the position of simultaneously undergoing and exercising it. Hence individuals "are not only it's inert or consenting target; they are always also the elements of its articulation. In other words, individuals are the vehicles of power, not its point of application" (Foucault, 1980).

Power is constituted in many different locations, in many different ways, and language is crucial in articulating, maintaining and subverting its existing relations in society. It has multiple locations and valences, and language is the vehicle with which power and its various possible forms are defined and contested. "Power is more than an authoritative voice in decision making; its strongest form may well be the ability to define social reality, to impose vision of the world. Such visions are inscribed in language and enacted in interaction" (Gal, 1991).

An important feature of power in the modern world is that it is exercised through ways not always obvious. More than often it operates though covert ways. Much power in the modern world is unseen in the sense that it becomes naturalized. It is exercised not through direct coercion but through the creation of common sense, by a process of hegemony. Hegemony implies hidden or covert operation of power. It refers to control through consent. "Power refers to the attempt by dominant groups in society to win the consent of subordinate group and to achieve a compromise equilibrium in ruling over them" (Gramsici, 1971). Thus, power enables one to impose one's will directly or indirectly over others or resist the imposition of other's will. The exercise of power increases the tangible or intangible means of gratification of its possessor. This gratification could come from having influence, wealth, and prestige, security, the possession of beautiful objects etc.

It may mean even the enjoyment of passions such as love, hatred, anger, nostalgia and even such perversion as sadism and masochism.

Another role of power must be kept in mind, and that is it shapes people's preferences in such a way that they accept their role in the existing order of things. Thus, an insidious exercise of power lies in its act of creating common sense, and this end it achieves through coercive and discursive ways. Moreover, language is ideological in the sense that it encodes a certain worldview; a certain conception of life, and it always wields ideological, often covert power. Language is, thus, part of the struggle for power. It is part of the struggle for possession of the domains of power between different groups. "Language is the site of competing views on how life should be lived. The dominance of a language, then, always favours a certain conception of life and, by implication, those who believe in it" (Rehman, 2003). In our daily lives we are constrained by subject positions, and our social roles are created for us through language.

Thus, language moulds people's identities. But this does not mean that we are automations or passive dupes. Imposed identities and statutes can be and constantly are being discursively negotiated, contested and resisted. Thus, resistance, contestation and struggle are accompaniments of power, and all these are realized through language.

Critical Discourse Analysis

"Critical goals mean aiming to elucidate such naturalization, and more generally to make clear social determinations and effects of discourse which are characteristically opaque to participants". (Fiarclough 1998:28) CDA has its roots in critical linguistics, which is a branch of discourse analysis that goes beyond the description of discourse to an explanation of how and why particular discourses are produced.

The term critical is a key theoretical concept in CDA that needs some explanation here. The word signals the need for analysts to unpack the ideological underpinnings of discourse that have become so naturalized over time that we begin to treat them as common, acceptable and natural features of discourse. In other words, ideology has become common belief or even common sense. The word critical in CDA also singles a departure from the purely descriptive goals of discourse analysis. "The term critical (and the associated term critique) refers to human matters, interconnections and chains of cause and effect that may be distorted out of vision" (Fiarclough 1998:36). CDA thus moves from the surface attentiveness of discourse analysis to recognition of the crucial role played by deeper, larger social forces which exist in a dialectical relationship with the discourse.

Though CDA is a relatively new discipline, its roots can be traced as far back as Marx, whose ideas on social theory and organization have had a tremendous impact on latter-day social thinkers. For instance, Gramsci (1971) and Althusser (1971) have both stressed the significance of ideology for modern societies to sustain and reinforce their social structures and relation. "Critical Linguistics/discourse theorists have developed a radically different form of analysis, which inflects the term discourse slightly differently" (Sara Mills 2002: 140).

The critical discourse theorists have been concerned to develop a political analysis of text. Particularly linguists such as Norman Fairclough have integrated Michel Foucault's definition of discourse with a systematic framework of analysis based on a linguistic analysis of text. In this way, critical linguists such as Fairclough can be seen providing working models and forms of practice from Foucault's theoretical interventions, together with a description of the effects of discursive structures on individuals. There is a shift away from mere description to a more analytical and critical perspective, which is a significant reinterpretation of Foucault's work.


The Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary (Fourth Edition: 1991) writes "an Ideology is a belief or a set of beliefs, especially the political beliefs on which people, parties or countries base their actions."

As a matter of fact, the concept of ideology was first elaborated by the followers of Marx particularly by Althusser. He writes in his book "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" that language, in the form of ideology in general is the means by which individuals are governed by the ideological state apparatuses in the interests of the class which rules them. These ideological state apparatuses include the churches, school, the family, the law, the political system, trade union, the media and culture. And these apparatuses are backed by the repressive apparatuses of the police and the army.

Contrary to it, the modern definition of ideology has a wider implication. Now it means a set of beliefs, which to the people who hold them appear to be logical and natural. Nowadays it is believed that everything we know and think is an ideology.

However, language is the vehicle with which an ideology is projected. But, ideology in a text may not be explicitly presented. It is always hidden in the structure of a discourse and in the inter connectedness of the things. "Ideologies are primarily located in the unsaid (Implicit proposition)" (Fiarclough 1998: 24).

Ideology though appears in implicit propositions, yet it is generated to protect the interest of particular class or classes, and not the interests of common classes. Hence, two aspects of ideology are here quite important: firstly ideology is never projected in explicit proposition: secondly, ideology is projected in a discourse in more or less naturalized way - that is, it seems to be commonsensical and becomes apart of knowledge base which is activated in a discourse.


The noun politician belongs to a family of words politic, politics, political, politicise, etc. the root form of politic comes originally from classical Greek, meaning city, citizen, or civic. However, the original sense of the word is concerned with people and their lives they lead in organized communities.

However, more broadly speaking, few words in English carry such negative connotations as the word politician. Connotation refers to the level of meaning based on associations we attach to a word or words. But the denotative definition of the word politician may be something like --- "a person who is practically engaged in running a country, district or town." (Andrian Beard 2000:03)

But the connotations surrounding the word politician are nearly always negative. Brewer's Dictionary of Politics has a very long entry for the word politician. It says, "Politician: A practitioner of the art of politics, essential to the working of human society but frequently despised by those outside the political arena: indeed the word is sometimes a term of abuse." A practitioner of something carries connotation of professionalism--- for instance, doctors are in practice. Thus, it describes politics as an art, which places politician in a good light, doing work, which is skillful, creative and necessary for good of society, for the good of us all.

However, we may concede that the politicians are frequently despised. For instance, Greek philosophers like Plato described politics as "nothing but corruption." George Orwell in his essay "Politics and the English Language" (1946) viewed politics negatively. He said,"Politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia."

But another fact of this above-mentioned thought is that all those who despise politics or politicians are not themselves members of this arena. The despisers of politics come from outside the political arena. It suggests that they are not really qualified to talk, and only politicians really know the truth about what they do.

Politician VS Statesman

Because the word politician carries such negative connotation, another word is required for those politicians who achieve and sustain almost universal popularity. If the word politician carries such a stigma, then what can we call figures like Martin Luther king or Nelson Mandela whose reputations are largely untainted with the usual connotation of deviousness? One word often used to describe such politicians is statesman, a word which carries connotations of wisdom, vision and dignity. The French president Georges Pompidou summarized in the 1960s the different connotations of the words politician and statesman. He said, "a statesman is a politician who places himself at the head of the nation. A politician is a statesman who places the nation at his service."

Left, Right and Center

Like all spheres of activity, politics has its own code (code is a term used by linguists to refer to a language variety particular to a specific group). Key words to describe, in simple terms, the political alignment of individuals or their parties are left, right, and center. These words originate in metonymic use, from French politics just before the French Revolution. In the Estates -General, those who supported the king's policies sat on the right, while his opponents sat on the left. Thereafter, the word left has come to refer to socialist or radical groups, the word right to conservative and national groups. Once these words gained currency, a term was therefore needed for those who were some where between the two groups in their politics --- these politicians were said to belong to the center.

However, politics is rarely as simple as groups of the above mentioned three: there have been many gradations of left, right and center. Those with strong views to the left or right, for example, are known as left/right wingers. Those who hold less radical views are sometimes called left of center or right of center. However, where one's politics is positioned, is not as simple as it may appear, because there is no absolute, objective measure of where on the political scale, from left to right/right to left, one's ideas and opinions place one.

Instead there are terms that one may use about oneself, with positive connotations as one sees them, and terms that may be used about one's potion, that may be less positive. The same description can carry different connotations, depending on the views of who uses them and who receives them: one politician may be pleased to call himself left - wingers, whereas his opponents may use the same term critically.

One of the problems with using these terms of political positioning is that it is very hard to find a vocabulary that describes them naturally, without connotations, whether positive or negative. For instance, how can we describe the views of those on the wings of politics? To call a view extreme carries critical connotations; to call a view strong does not necessarily place someone on one of the political wings. Those in the center will claim that their views are moderate when judged on the left / right scale, but are strong terms of conviction with which they are held. The word radical can be equally troublesome; in the sense of getting to the root of some things; it too can be applied to politicians of all persuasions.

It seems, then, that all the terms that are used in an attempt to place politicians and their views into categories carry connotations, and that these connotations differ depending on who is using them. Some politicians may be proud to be seen as having views that place them on the wing of their party. The same politicians, however, may criticize an opponent for being on the opposite wing, this time using the term with negative connotations.

The Language of Politics

We have already mentioned that language is not a single homogenous phenomenon at all, but a complex phenomenon of many different discourses. Each discourse is definably distinct from all the others. There are noticeable differences between discourses, which are due to the sort of person who is talking or writing and the kinds of social situation s/he is in. For instance, most of us will face little difficulty in recognizing whether a dialogue we over heard was taking place between a mother and her baby, between two scientists or between two businessmen. We can also easily distinguish a BBC announcer reading the news from a lawyer defending his/her client in the court, and both these from a clergyman giving a sermon.

However, we may not be able to say precisely what a discourse is, what differentiates it from another, yet some features are always there which make the difference, or which distinguish one discourse from the other discourse. Generally people distinguish the discourse in an unconscious way. And they cannot clearly describe its features.

The language of politics is a discourse. It has certain features, which distinguish it from other. For instance the choices of words, phrases, sentence structure and verbal plays used to persuade others make the language of politics different from the language used in religious ceremonies, on shops, between the teacher and the student etc.

Language is often believed to be a tool of manipulation --- i.e., a single story may be manipulated and reported in different ways, depending upon the ideology of the reporter. Moreover, language is a mean of communication, a means of presenting and shaping argument - and political argument is nothing else, but ideological. So language is not some thing separate from the ideas it contains. Rather the way language is used says a great deal about how the ideas have been shaped. So when we are analyzing the language of a political text, we have to look at the ways the language reflects the ideological position of those who have created it. Similarly to argue that language depicts truth or valid argument is quite debatable issue. Philosophers distinguish between truth and validity. And rian Beard (2000:15) says,"A valid argument is one where the logic is correct; it does not have to lead to a true conclusion."It means that a true conclusion may come from an invalid argument.

It is only the use of language in an argument that counts. An invalid augment may be presented in a language in a way that it may appear as a true conclusion.

As far as the language of politics is concerned, we can say that it is featured with the use of metaphors, pronouns, the art of spin, special rhetorical devices, synthetic personalization, etc.

The Use of Metaphors and Their Power

Andrian Beard (2000) writes, "Both politicians, and those report politics, use these metaphors." Metaphor refers to when a word or a phrase is used which establishes a comparison between one idea and another."Recent work on semantics in English has investigated the place of metaphor in everyday speech" (Goatly1997).

Metaphor is deeply embedded in the way we construct the world around us and the way the world is constructed for us by others. Two common sources of metaphor in politics are sports and war. Both of them involve physical contest of some sort. For instance, in Britain, boxing metaphors are particularly common, which convey a sense of toughness and aggression. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) writes about the British Election of 1997 that "When the British Election of 1997 was announced, one newspaper had the headline. The Gloves are off, suggesting not boxing, but a bare knuckle fight." Similarly in the USA, baseball metaphors abound in politics i.e., "a whole new ball game," "a ball park figure", "to play ball," or to be "back at first base" can be quoted as a few examples.

In Pakistan, the politicians usually use cricket metaphors. For instance, after his being acquitted from the cases, Asif Ali Zardari gave a statement in the newspapers that if the next general elections are held fair, PPP will play in the style of Shahid Afridi.

Gibbs (1994) points out the metaphors from sports and war are "not rhetorical devices for talking about politics, for they exemplify how people ordinarily conceive of politics ------ for instance metaphors from sports and war often delude people into believing that negotiation and compromise are forbidden by the rules." In other words, it can be said that because so much language which surrounds political issues is rooted in metaphors of war, contest or sport ----that if we had not been consciously aware of their roots, we would have then no idea that politics could be anything other than confrontation. Moreover, the key metaphors of politics involve concept of enemies and opponents, winners and losers. They do not suggest that government can be achieved through discussion, cooperation, working together.

Sometimes metaphors are used to replace the name of something with something that is connected to it, without being the whole thing. For instance, the Us President, Government and advisors are sometimes replaced by the much simpler term "the while house". Similarly in Britain the British Royal family is replaced by "the Buckingham palace". In Pakistan, any announcement on behalf of President or Prime Minister or foreign office is announced as "The Islamabad said..."

However, metaphors uses are not random, but systematic. There is always a logical connection between the thing and the thing that replaces it. For instance, if you are asked to look at the face of someone, after looking at the facial portrait of that person, you will almost be satisfied that you have seen the person. If, however, you are shown a picture of that person's legs, without the face, you will certainly demand to see more. Metaphors affect the audience's perception of and attitude to the original thing. For instance, if a US politician states that the white House today threatened Saddam Hussain with military action over the UN inspectors' affair, here the metaphor the White House replaces the president of USA and his advisors, and Saddam Hussain replaces the country or people of Iraq. In the above-mentioned sentence, the metaphor has been used to give a favourable view of the American position.

There is a hidden advantage for the US president in not himself being named. For instance, attacking a foreign country is a dangerous decision. It is not something an individual will want to be held responsible for. It seems better if the threat is reported emerging from an impressive building. On the other hand, by directing threat to Saddam Hussain, and not to the people of Iraq, means that he alone will suffer the results of attack. Metaphors in fact give a more deeper and unseen meaning to an argument. "When analyses are used, therefore the reader must not just accept them but must evaluate their strength as a piece of argument."(Andrian Beard, 2000:28)

So far we have been discussing the metaphors' operation at word or phrase level. They establish comparison between one idea and another. But, sometimes-political argument involves comparison on a larger scale. A metaphor may operate by comparing two objects of different types, but these two objects have certain elements in common. For instance, the object of the kind has certain characteristics, and we do not know that the second object has them or not, but by comparison we conclude that since objects of the two kinds have certain things in common, they may have other things in common as well. However the strength of a metaphor depends on the degree of similarity between the objects being compared and whether they are similar in ways that are relevant to the argument being made.

We can quote here the example in which Margrate Thatcher used a metaphor in a favourite economic argument --- she compared the economy of the nation with the economy of an individual household. She said that just it was dangerous for a family to run up a debt, so it was dangerous for a country to do the same.

The Functions of Metaphors

"Metaphoric expressions tend to be organized in chains across texts" Koller (2003:15). However, a question is raised what functions the metaphoric expressions serve in different parts of a text as well as in relation to each other, or what cognitive scenarios these expressions evolve from their chains. Halliday (1978:113; 1994; 179) distinguishes between the following three meta functions of language; in its interpersonal function, language serves to constitutive and negotiate social identities and relations; at the level of clause, this function results in the clause being "organized as an interactive event [in which] the speaker adopts for himself a particular speech role, and in doing so assigns to the listener a complementary role which s/he wishes him/her to adopt in his/her turn" (Halliday 1994:68); finally, the textual function of language is defined as "creating relevance to context" (Halliday 1994:36), or providing cohesion to a text.

We apply the above-mentioned meta-functions of language to metaphors in the following lines.

Applying the first Hallidayan function of language to metaphor; we can quote here Fairclough as he "notes that metaphor can help to convey ideology" (1989:119; 1995:94). Lackoff (1980:156) says in this context that "metaphors [.........] highlight and make coherent certain aspects of our experience [.........] metaphors may create realities for us, especially social realities." It means that both Fiarclough and Lackoff hint at metaphor's role in constituting social identities and relations. Applying the second Hallidayan function of language to metaphors; we can say that metaphor works at conceptual level. It entails those metaphor-as-exchange functions to construct the position of text producer and text recipient. It, thus, establishes a relation between them, and the text producer alone establishes this relation. To proceed further, we can say that language can be seen as an ideational device that conveys representational meaning.

Thus, it helps to construct reality from a particular point of view. Applying the third Hallidayan function of language to metaphors, it can be said that it pertains to its linguistic reflection as metaphoric expression. Metaphor as message thus exhibits some form of organization giving the text the status of a communicative event.

A part from the above mentioned discussion, it seems important to point out that metaphoric expression most importantly play out in chains across the text. Halliday (1978:109) states that text is "actualized meaning potential"; text is like a syntagmatic chain of slots to be filled with paradigmatic choices. What fillers are chosen depends as much on the text producer's perceived identity as discourse participant as it does on the goals s/he wishes to achieve with that particular choice, and on his/her anticipation of reader's response. These mechanisms determining the choice of the fillers again reflect the interpersonal, ideational and textual functions. The filler slots can be lexical, grammatical or stylistic. The decision about filling particular text slots with particular metaphoric expressions refers to as the highlighting and hiding affect of metaphor also. Moreover, metaphor usage also helps to anticipate and to some extent determine reader's understanding of the topic.

Metaphoric expressions may cluster in different slots of the text, and their clustering in different slots make them play different functions. For instance, when metaphoric expressions cluster at the beginning of a text, they actualize an ideational function by introducing the topic as defined by a particular metaphor. Such an initial cognitive representation helps to set the agenda the author/speaker has in his/ her mind. When metaphors bundle in mid-text, on the other hand, they realize an interpersonal function by arguing the authors' case. Finally, when metaphor clusters towards the end of the text, they work interpersonally as well by helping author/speaker to re-instantiate and reinforce his/her particular metaphoric construction(s) and this drive the point home to their readers/audience.

Thus, metaphors with end weight very much serve a persuasive function. In this context, the textual function of metaphor is not confided to any particular section of the text but can be seen cutting across the three slots just discussed.

The functions of metaphoric tokens across chains is another focal point of interest. In fact, metaphoric expressions can relate to each other in various ways. Not only can metaphoric expressions elaborate on and extend each other, but they can, on the other hand, also question, or even negate each other. Moreover, the constituents of metaphoric chains can also meet an exemplifying or generalizing function with regard to each other. It should also be kept in mind that metaphoric expression often simply echoes each other across chains. By means of accumulation, echoing can have an intensifying function just as metaphoric expressions extending or elaborating on each other can.

The metaphoric usages are a byproduct of the speakers' idiosyncratic communication style. When these byproducts occur in clusters, they suggest that the author/speaker wants to present an alternative interpretation of the topic. For this purpose s/he may use a super ordinate metaphor or even use various subordinate metaphors to give an interpretation of the super ordinate metaphor. In such cases, it seems likely that the author/speaker creates clusters because s/he understands or conceptualizes the topic in terms of the metaphor. So it seems quite reasonable to expect that the author/speaker may continue using the metaphors for a number of sentences, enough to produce a recognizable cluster. Thus, the cluster represents the intent of the author/speaker to explain a topic.

Moreover, these clusters may come in two ways; the first of which does not involve any significant departure from surrounding speech in terms of novelty, topicality and coherence, nor does it appear to represent a change in the nature of the ubject matter; the second type of cluster may involve change in the type of language produced and the nature of subject matter.

The Use of Pronouns and Their Power

Pronoun reference is always very important in putting over a piece of political persuasion. For instance, at times the second person (you, your, yourself) is employed by the text producer to give an immediate sense that the readers/audience are being addressed personally. At certain other moments, the text produce wishes to suggest that s/he is trying to persuade "us" to a point of view we already agree with. So s/he uses the pronoun "we, us, our, ourselves" to give a sense of collectivity, of us all (including the text producer himself/herself with the reader / audience) being in this persuasion together.

The Art of Spin

"The activities of politician are seen to be devious" Andrian Beard 2000).Though the art of spin is associated in America with the PR experts employed by the politicians to channel facts to the media and the term spin doctors is also used for these experts, yet the politicians in America do not admit employing spin-doctors themselves, they refer to them as their press agents, or use some such similar term for them. The word spin relates to baseball in America (in Pakistan it relates to cricket). The word, however, employs that spin is a pitcher's technique (in cricket a bowler's technique) to fool or deceive the opponent. Thus, in America, a spin-doctor is someone who deceives, and is one who presents a false picture to suit the politician. In Pakistan, however, the politicians themselves employ the same technique to present a false picture to the audience or to the opponent, though the press agents are also employed by Pakistani politicians.

The art of spin is used in speech by presenting the facts in a different light or by approaching a figure in a different way. So spin often involves either claiming credit or distributing blame. Blame or credit can be attributed, for instance, by either emphasizing the role of participants or by minimizing it. One way of exploring how blame or credit are attributed is to look at the way transitivity works in a text. Similarly, we can also assess blame or credit by finding out naming labels given to the participant as well as the grammatical foregrounding or back grounding of their role, i.e. one of the most obvious ways in which participants can be foreground, backgrounder or omitted entirely is by using the active or passive voice.

The Use of Rhetorical Devices

Andrian Beard (2000) writes, "Rhetorical speeches are going to be needed if the audience is to both pay attention and be persuaded". Rhetoric is defined by Cokcroft and Cockroft in their book "Persuading People" (1992) as "the art of persuasive discourse."The word discourse here has been used to refer to both spoken and written communication.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322BC) wrote extensively on the art of the rhetoric. He believed it an important part of human activity. Hence he categorized and defined it extensively. Plato, on the other hand, believed rhetoric to be the manipulation of an audience by people who were essentially insincere in their motives. So rhetoric has always been thought an important factor in all human communication.

Rhetoric, thus, refers to speech, and more specifically to a certain type of formal public speaking. Its one common feature is that it is a skill of speaking persuasively that is far more important than a personally held belief in the topic under debate. The politicians are judged by their rhetorical skills, and their ability to speak persuasively, rather than the honesty of their views. Insincerity is even acceptable provided the rhetorical skills used to communicate it are good enough. Generally a speaker is rewarded for his/her rhetorical skills rather than honesty and truth. A good speaker is one who successfully persuades the audience to agree with his/her ideas, rather than to adjudicate on what reality is.

Aristotle classified the means of persuasion into three broad categories. Cockcorft and Cockroft (1992) describe them as:

This segment of speech adopts an interesting position as it contains a dialogue between the speaker and an abstract noun (sholay) the flames. This abstract noun is personified here as a living entity, talking to the speaker. The metaphors abound in it. For instance, (angar) fire, (sholay) flames, and (dobi hoi kashti) the sunk boat come in the beginning. Thus, they actualize an ideational function by introducing the pathetic predicament of the country. This initial cognitive representation helps the speaker to set the agenda he has in his mind. This segment also shows a shift in the speaker's attitude from public to personal, and from personal to public.

The speaker also employs the list of threes twice. Each of these lists contain three phrases. The first list contains (meri awam mein maqboliat hai) "I am popular among masses", (meri awam mein shorat hai) " I am famous in public", (meri awam mein izat hai) "I have a respected place in public" , and the second list contains(meri qoam ka sawal hai) "The question is of my nation", (mere Pakistan ka sawal hai) " The question is of my Pakistan", (mere gharibo ka sawal hai) "The question is of my poor masses". If we compare these two lists of threes, we can find that (izat) "honour" in the first list is replaced by (qoam) "nation" in the second; then again (izat) "honour" in the first list is replaced by Pakistan in the second; (shorat) "popularity" in the third phrase of the first list is replaced by (ghariboo) "the poor masses" in the second list. This comparison highlights speaker's ideology---i.e, twice he uses the noun (izat) "honour", but never does he attach it to the poor masses.

First he attaches honour to nation, then to Pakistan.Honour is thus depicted here as something that one can get rectified and protected only when one attaches it to something great and socially important, like nation, country, etc, Perhaps, one can not get one's honour rectified and protected when one attaches it to ghariboo (the poor masses).

This segment of speech is a compact whole since the beginning to the end. The noun masses or public (awam) is repeatedly used here. It is the most strong linguistic unifying feature of this speech. At six different places the noun masses (awam) is used here. The thought in this speech begins with masses in the first sentence and ends with masses in the last sentence. Masses is given here the role if parents, as the parents give birth to child, the speaker says that he has gotten birth from the masses. No doubt, he talks of his birth as a politician. Masses has been then presented as a source of Taqat (power); Masses has been portrayed as a beloved to whom the lover (the speaker) can not think of deserting.

The Metaphors of Machli (fish) and Pani (water) Khushboo (perfume) and Phool (flower) have been employed to prove the strength of relation the speaker and his masses keep between themselves. In both the metaphors the speaker has chosen active role for himself, and has assigned passive role to masses. For instance, in the first metaphor, the speaker compares himself with Machli (fish) and awam (masses) with Pani (water). It is fish which actively moves in water, and not the vice versa. Moreover, water can remain without fish but fish cannot live with out water. Thus, the metaphor, on the one hand, suggests that the speaker Machili can swim and penetrate in the ocean of masses Pani. And the ocean of masses pani can not swim and penetrate into him. Thus, the metaphor suggests that the speaker has access to all sections of masses, but the masses can not have access to all sections of Mchli (the speaker).

It means that the awam can not have access to all shades (ideology) of the speaker. On the other hand, Machili (the speaker) is a kind of life in Pani (water), without it pani will only be an inanimate element of nature. In the second metaphor, khusboo (perfume) stands for speaker, and Phool (flower) for masses. Khushboo is the essence of Phool. Metaphorically speaking, the phool can die, but khusboo can be immortalized by converting it into perfume. So the speaker assigns the role of immortal to himself, and that of mortal to awam.

Two speech segments of Benazir Bhutto. In these segments the speaker employees the sister like friendship, she establishes in synthetic sisterhood with the audience. She addresses them as if they were note masses but her friends and relations.

This conspiracy was not directed against one person. It was directed against public, the poor masses, the oppressed, the labourers, and the people of lower classes. The art of spin.

This segments of the speech begins in a formal way. The speaker calls the audience friends (sathio). This noun also suggests that the speaker includes the audience in the struggle she is carrying against those who removed her government on July 5. The repetition of July 5 highlights its importance for the speaker. The speaker also declares the removal of her government as conspiracy (sazish). This was actually directed against the rule of one person only, and not against others. But by establishing synthetic relationship with masses the speaker declares it a conspiracy against the oppressed people.

The speaker who in fact belongs to one of the leading big families of Pakistan, declares the removal of government not as the loss of that class (elite class), but declares it a loss of poor labour class. The speaker also uses the noun (humare awam) our masses. The noun (humare) shows on the one hand the social superiority of the speaker. On the other hand, it shows that the speaker is not "alone." Rather she is orking in struggle as a group.

To conclude it can be said that in the political speeches, the politicians present themselves to public like commodities for consumption. It is this feature which marks their resemblance very clearly to the advertisements on television. Their speeches are like political advertisements. They make their advertisements more and more effective and acceptable for general masses by using a particular language in them. Moreover, they use language to construct their identity. However, their identity changes from moment to moment, their positions or identities are constructed through language. As their language changes every moment, their positions and identities constantly shift.

One politician's speech does not consist of one voice. It is like a mesh of intersecting voices. Thus, the text of a speech is constituted with the heterogeneous voices, through which s/he builds up his/her identity. Thus, the text of the speech is not the product of one person. It is rather like the product of a person who himself/herself is a multiple fragmented personality. Thus, the speaker is the part of the population of the text. His/her ideology is also the part of the population of the text. Whatever language or linguistic devices s/he may use, s/he and his/her ideology are quite apparent in text of the speech.


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Author:Zubair, Shirin
Publication:International Journal of Arts and Humanities
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2010
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