'…A 40-Year-Old Black Man Made the Point to Me': Anecdotes, Everyday Knowledge and the Performance of Leadership in British Politics

Judi Atkins, Alan Finlayson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this article we demonstrate the application of Rhetorical Political Analysis in the study of political communication and political ideas and ideologies. Taking the rhetorical use of anecdotes as a case study, we find that their use by mainstream party leaders in Britain has proliferated markedly since the mid-1990s. Drawing on examples from speeches by leaders of all three main parties, we show how these stories are employed as a form of argumentative proof that significantly relies on the elevation of “everyday” experience and knowledge above expert or technical knowledge. We argue that this reflects a more general “valorisation of lay knowledge” and, moreover, that it is indicative of a form of populist ideology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-177
JournalPolitical Studies
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Atkins, J. and Finlayson, A. (2013), ‘... A 40‐Year‐Old Black Man Made the Point to Me’: Everyday Knowledge and the Performance of Leadership in Contemporary British Politics. Political Studies, 61: 161-177, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00953.x.  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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