Political discourse of a working-class town

Susana Sotillo, Dana Starace-Nastasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Critical discourse analysis (CDA) studies have examined the construction, reproduction, and mental appropriation of 'top-down' discourses of dominance but have paid little attention to 'bottom-up' analyses of semi-formal texts such as Letters to the Editor (LEs) in small-town newspapers. We investigate here the discourse of LEs written by candidates for political office, their supporters, and opponents. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed on a corpus of 123 LEs. Four research questions were addressed. The results of the study indicate that (1) letter writers used four specific forms of argumentation and selectively addressed issues; (2) LEs furnished a convenient platform for political campaigning but did not provide an effective medium for constructive dialogue leading to action and social change; (3) tax increases, ratables, the environment, and morality in education emerged as major topics; and (4) gender and class differences were salient in the discourse of LEs. An underlying discourse of disaffection, perceived as loss of social cohesion, emerged from the linguistic choices, content, tone, and structure of the letters. Reader-writers feel powerless at their inability to effect social change in their own communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-276
Number of pages28
JournalDiscourse and Society
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999

Fingerprint

Economic and social effects
letters to the editor
Taxation
Linguistics
working class
town
Education
discourse
social change
writer
tax increase
small town
social cohesion
argumentation
discourse analysis
morality
newspaper
candidacy
dialogue
Letters to the Editor

Keywords

  • Disaffection
  • Form of argumentation
  • Gender and class
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Lexical and syntactic choices
  • Reader-writers
  • Taxes
  • Working-class town

Cite this

Sotillo, Susana ; Starace-Nastasi, Dana. / Political discourse of a working-class town. In: Discourse and Society. 1999 ; Vol. 10, No. 2. pp. 249-276.
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Sotillo, S & Starace-Nastasi, D 1999, 'Political discourse of a working-class town', Discourse and Society, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 249-276. https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926599010002006

Political discourse of a working-class town. / Sotillo, Susana; Starace-Nastasi, Dana.

In: Discourse and Society, Vol. 10, No. 2, 01.01.1999, p. 249-276.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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