Publication details [#70317]

Hart, Christopher and Bodo Winter. 2021. Gesture and legitimation in the anti-immigration discourse of Nigel Farage. Discourse & Society 33 (1) : 34–55.
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Critical discourse analysis (CDA) increasingly recognises the role played by multiple semiotic modes in the discursive construction of social identities and inequalities. One embodied mode that has not been subject to any systematic analysis within CDA is gesture. An area where gesture has been extensively studied, and where it is shown to bear significant semiotic load in multimodal utterances, is cognitive linguistics. Here, we use insights from cognitive linguistics to provide a detailed qualitative analysis of gestures in a specific discursive context – the anti-immigration discourse of Nigel Farage. We describe the gestures that accompany a range of rhetorical tropes typical of anti-immigration discourses and critically analyse their role, alongside speech, in communicating prejudice and legitimating discriminatory action. Our analysis suggests that gesture is an important part of political discourse which is worthy of further investigation in future CDA research.