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The Obama Model and Britain: a doxological inquiry into the rhetoric and reception of strategic identification in the 2008 American presidential election

Delp, Robert Kyle 2012. The Obama Model and Britain: a doxological inquiry into the rhetoric and reception of strategic identification in the 2008 American presidential election. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

This thesis measures the rhetoric and effect of political campaign discourse. It is a rhetorical analysis of three campaign speeches given by Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election, "A More Perfect Union" delivered in March 2008, "The American Promise" delivered at the Democratic National Convention in August 2008 and "A World that Stands as One" delivered in Berlin in July 2008. Reading the speech teleologically by drawing on Kenneth Burke's theory of rhetorical identification and consubstantiality, this thesis argues the Obama Model of persuasion constructs audience identity and uses specific strands of an audience's history to emphasise common ground, shared values and shared interests in provisional coalitions against common challenges. This is accomplished through the strategic use of "we," through the praise of an audience's dominant symbols and values and through scapegoating, Othering and antithesis. As a multidisciplinary study, this thesis seeks to understand how these messages and strategies are received by audiences using focus groups and audience response technology. It convenes twelve focus groups of previously unaddressed audiences in the United Kingdom to understand the doxological equipment audiences bring to the rhetorical transaction of American political campaign discourse. As such, it seeks to understand moments of convergence and divergence, identification and division between demographically diverse audiences and Obama's campaign speeches. This thesis is an original contribution to rhetorical theory, identity and identification, studies on Kenneth Burke and Barack Obama, cultural studies and Joseph Nye's theory of soft power in international relations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2016 01:30
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/21818

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