• Jan Linnemann Nielsen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
Political attack discourse is not a new thing. For an example in the presidential election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in year 1800, political attack discourse was reportedly often used. Political attacks are likely to occur in all countries with political debate. For example, some literature refers to over 30 countries where the phenomenon has been researched. Political attacks are often not well-liked by political commentators and the public. It can be assumed that political attacks are even detrimental to democracy and society because it can cause distrust to the receiver. Conversely, it can be emphasized that negative attacks can help raise awareness about a given subject and can be used to mobilize the public.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate attacks in political discourse. The thesis investigates attacks in the cross field between medialized political debates and political discourses. With a case derived from the presidential election in the United States in 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the two candidates attacks and defences are examined.

The focal point of this thesis’ theoretical basis is Nigel Edley’s discourse theory. With a basic focus on interpretive repertoires and subject positions the political attacks are examined.

The thesis found characteristics about the two candidates political discourse attacks. Among other things it was found that both candidates use different interpretive repertoires to position Hillary Clinton either positively or negatively. For example, Donald Trump uses a strategy where he positions Hillary Clinton as part of the political elite and creates negative interpretative repertoires about this position. Where Hillary Clinton tries to position her political experience as a positive trait.

Hillary Clinton makes many attacks on Donald Trump’s fitness to serve. However, she is not able to create a positioning or interpretative repertoires about Donald Trump that connotes each other in the same way that Donald Trump succeeds in creating about her.
Publication date1 Jan 2018
Number of pages54
ID: 266867471