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Title: Text, rhetoric and winning hearts and minds of the general population
Contributor(s): Kigotho, Mutuota  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2023-11
Open Access: Yes
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Politicians and lawyers as well as advertisers rely on a useful selection of words and phrases to make powerful speeches. At times, this has involved the use of creative three-word slogans to influence public opinion and eventually win wars and a place in history. This paper looks at the immense power of text and rhetoric as used by various speakers over time and space. In the paper a cross-section of speeches by politicians in Australia, the United States of America and in Africa are examined. Questions are posed about language use and contents of the texts. Is the public moved by the rhetoric applied by the speakers? Does the public love the speakers or is the audience simply idle and hence gullible? Using the Critical Discourse Analysis framework the paper interrogates the style of delivery and the impact that these speeches have had on the audience. I take the position that to make speeches that deliver a punch, it takes craftsmanship, drama, courage and good humour to capture the right words at the right time.

In Australia, we examine four speeches made by politicians in the lead-up to the 2023 referendum towards giving the first nations people a voice in the Australian Constitution. We examine a speech made by Noel Pearson in May 2023 and an interview made by Mick Gooda in a television interview also given in May 2023. The two politicians speak for the 'Yes' campaign. We then take a critical look at a speech by the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Opposition leader Peter Dutton and analyse a speech from each of the leaders in the lead up to the referendum.

Other speeches selected for examination include a reconciliation speech by the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa, a the acceptance speech by Barack Obama when he became President of the United States of America in his first term of office.

We concern ourselves with relations of power and inequality in language. In the speeches selected for analysis, several points emerge. Those in authority use the power of rhetoric to demean those with opposing views and portray a veneer of bringing liberation, prosperity and emancipation all in one breath. Leaders with a good command of language endear themselves to the public and use select rhetorical devices to win the hearts and minds of their audiences.

Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Details: The Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Melbourne, Australia, 26th-30th November 2023
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 390101 Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130202 Languages and linguistics
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
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Appears in Collections:Conference Publication
School of Education

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