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Title: Celebrating the April Revolution in the Portuguese Parliament: discursive habits, constructing the past and rhetorical manipulation
Authors: Marinho, Cristina
Keywords: Portuguese politics
Political commemoration
Revolution of April 1974
Discursive psychology
Critical discourse analysis
Political language
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: © Cristina Manuela da Silva Marinho
Abstract: This thesis examines the political language and the ideological construction of the national past at the annual commemoration of the April 25 Revolution in the Portuguese parliament. The language of politics during these State commemorations is complex. The speakers of the ceremony are not expected to engage in the everyday politics but to celebrate and remember together the overthrow of the previous regime that occurred on April 25 1974. Nonetheless, behind apparent acts of unity and communion there is political controversy about the nature of the event and its celebration. Mostly this controversy cannot be expressed openly. In order to register the ideological and controversial aspects of these commemorations, the thesis looks at both the overt and the hidden language of the commemorative speeches from left and right political parties. Specifically, the official parliamentary transcripts of the commemorative speeches from left and right political party are analysed at different levels using different methodologies: broad quantitative content analyses of large numbers of speeches and fine critical discursive analysis of specific parts of particular speeches. A broad quantitative content analysis of wole speeches reveals the patterns of themes and terms mentioned in the speakers accounts of the past. By looking at the presence and absence of explicit themes and terms, the analysis suggests that accounts of the past in the parliamentary commemoration of the April Revolution differ along political and ideological lines. This is also apparent in the customary ways of greeting the audience right at the start of the speeches. This analysis combines a quantitative content analysis of the formal greetings over time with an analysis of the rhetorical meanings of particular terms. The analysis of greetings also shows the sexism of the customary and also the development of ritual forms. In order to examine the complexity of this sort of speech, it is necessary to move to in-depth qualitative analysis of parts of specific speeches. The analysis of the beginnings of two speeches given at the 2004 commemoration, namely, from the speaker of the far-right Democratic and Social Centre/Popular Party (CDS-PP) and from the far-left Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), shows that both speakers presented controversial versions of the past but did not do so in direct ways. The speaker from the CDS-PP uses a number of rhetorical devices including omissions and distortion in order to conceal his meanings, while appearing to celebrate a Revolution to which his party was ambivalent. On the other hand, the speaker from the PCP also uses manipulative devices but he does not do so in order to hide the ideology of his message but to make it clearer. The thesis argues for the importance of analysing hidden ideological messages as well as for distinguishing between a speaker manipulating the presentation of their ideology and a speaker manipulating the evidence in order to present their ideology clearer.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/9774
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies)

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