Edited by Jana Pelclová and Wei-Lun Lu
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 79] 2018
► pp. 109–124
Chapter 5. “The end is near”
Negative attitude and fear in political discourse
Discourse is a constitutive element of politics as a social practice. This chapter analyzes a political propaganda video released during the 2010 presidential election in Brazil during the final week of the run-off between Dilma Rousseff and José Serra. We employ the appraisal system (Martin and White, 2005) to investigate the language used in the video voice-over aimed at persuading people not to vote for Rousseff. The study reveals the discursive construction of a political struggle in Brazil and provides a methodological model for the systematic analysis of public discourse and language structure. Language, supported by other available semiotic resources, is deployed to represent a possible victory by Dilma Rousseff which invokes fear from the audience through negative attitudinal meanings. That benefits her political opponent, José Serra, who emerges from the narrative as the viable choice for the run-off.