Edited by Martina Berrocal and Aleksandra Salamurović
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 84] 2019
► pp. 119–146
Chapter 6Delegitimization strategies in Czech parliamentary discourse
Parliamentary debates are characterized by constant conflict of opposing discourses in the struggle for positions, resources and political power. This rhetorical conflict, which is often more performed than real, aims, among others, to undermine the image of the political rivals and to question their professional, political and moral legitimation.
From the theoretical perspective, the questioning of identities and the face-threats are essential to this practice. They concern not only the individual face-threats, but the verbal attacks target frequently qualities related to the group-face (Spencer-Oatey 2009). However, these face threats form part of the parliamentary performance (staging) and the political rivals, unlike in the everyday interaction, seldom take a real offence which could seriously harm the interpersonal or intergroup relations (cf. Harris 2001: 468).
The research is conducted applying the pragma-rhetorical approach to parliamentary discourse which have proved useful in several studies of parliamentary discourse (Ilie 2003, 2010a, b, Ionescu-Ruxăndoiu 2010, 2012). However, some structual levels had to be added to Ilie’s approach in order to use its whole potential and convey the interplay of the different discourse levels in the parliamentary talk. By this endeavour, the approaches of Klein (1998) und Blas-Arroyo (Blas-Arroyo 2011) were also helpful.
This article aims to list delegitimization strategies used in the Czech Parliament. The main focus is on the strategies by which the fellow MPs are accused of lying, clientelismus or by which their moral and intelectual capabilities are put in question.
- Theoretical framework
- Legitimisation and delegitimization
- Material processing
- Quantitative evaluation
- Qualitative evaluation
- First strategy: Accuse your political opponent of a fact that challenges his/her political legitimisation (e.g. lies, clientelism, lack of moral integrity).
- Second strategy: Negative positioning / criticism: Depict your opponent’s political action in a negative manner. Criticise his/her political actions
- Third strategy: Challenge/appeal: Voice a challenge/make an appeal that is connected to the political position (action, abilities, and legitimation) of the political opponent
- Fourth strategy: Quoting the opponent: Quote/paraphrase utterances of your political opponent which weaken his/her position
- Fifth strategy: Amusing/witty comments: Utter an amusing or witty comment that mocks the political action or personal attributes of the political opponent or group