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.
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2013|