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Legitimacy Strategies in Extremist Political Discourse: A Case Study of the British National Party
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Despite being grounded in discriminatory and racist ideologies, extremist right-wing parties in Western Europe are rising in popularity. This success for many of the parties, including the British National Party (the BNP), can be ascribed to them having made conscious efforts to appeal to the public by making claims of legitimacy (Copsey, 2008). Claiming legitimacy in a society where the consensus is to refrain from racism and discrimination, which is the consensus in Western Europe since World War II (van Dijk, 1992), entails denying having these inhumane ideologies at all. To successfully communicate political ideas grounded in racism through a filter of denial suggests complex rhetorical strategies.In this exploratory study, I identified and examined linguistic legitimacy strategies used by the BNP party leader Nick Griffin in an inquiring interview, using a discourse analytical approach. The strategies were: positive self-presentations, negative other-presentations, accusations, and racism denial strategies. These were analyzed in their co-existence and co-operation in enforcing ideas. The results suggest that ideas of a totalitarian Britain, where politicians and the media lie and with-hold information from the public about the dangers of multi-culturalism and Islam, are being enforced by a complex structure of these strategies. In understanding how linguistic legitimacy strategies can build these type of structures, more light is thrown on the workings of extremist political discourse and indeed covert racist discourse in general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
legitimacy strategies, extremist political discourse, extremist rhetoric, covert racism, the British National Party
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104680OAI: diva2:724855
Available from: 2014-06-16 Created: 2014-06-13 Last updated: 2014-06-16Bibliographically approved

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Ekeram, Cecilia
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