Next ACDC meeting, Salomi Boukala on “The Politics of Fear vs The Politics of Hope: Analysing Greek political discourses and election campaigns – A discourse historical approach”, 8 February 2016, 15:30-17:00, VU 3B73

Dear ACDC members,

After this month’s meeting where Julián Albaladejo presented his research on anti-abortion discourse in Spain (see here, members only), it is our pleasure to announce our next ACDC meeting.

  • Date: February 8, 2016
  • Time: 15:30-17:00
  • Place: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Main Building, Room 3B73

Salomi Boukala is our guest next month and will talk about Greek political discourses of identity in 2015, when elections were held nationally as well as an EU bailout referendum. Salomi has close relations with some of the leading Greek media and an up-to-date insiders’ perspective on the Greek-EU conflict. She took her PhD at Lancaster University and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) where she is working for the European programme ‘(In)forming conflict prevention, response and resolution: the role of media in violent conflict’ (INFOCORE). We look forward to a lively discussion on a politically and economically hot topic!

Title: “The Politics of Fear vs The Politics of Hope: Analysing Greek political discourses and election campaigns – A discourse historical approach”
Salomi Boukala, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)


The Greek national election campaign of January 2015 revolved around Fear and Hope. In its wake, the Greek bailout referendum took place in July, in a climate of polarization and insecurity. At the campaign level, the referendum was an extension of the national election and its discursive constructions.

I would like to discuss the discursive constructions of the final speeches held by the two Greek party leaders (Tsipras and Samaras) in the campaign for the bailout referendum. In a political climate of polarisation and insecurity, the leaders took opposite positions: The Prime Minister and leader of Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, called for a ‘No’ vote on European and national blackmail, using war metaphors and aiming for a popular mandate to ‘change Greece and Europe’: ‘Greece has been transformed into an experimental austerity laboratory for the last five years…and the experiment did not succeed”. At the same time, the conservative New-Democracy opposition party urged for a ‘Yes’ because of threats to Greece’s Europeanisation and economic growth: ‘‘No vote means No to Europe … No vote will be a catastrophe” (Samaras). Typically, in-groups and out-groups were constructed in different frameworks of fear and of hope.

Drawing on Spinoza’s ‘affects’ (2001) and Aristotle’s concept of ‘topos’ (Wodak & Boukala 2015) I take a Discourse Historical Approach to argumentation strategies. My aim is to explain the complexities of dominant political identities and their discursive constructions and to illustrate what argumentation strategies are applied in these speeches and how they constitute the resurgence of political dichotomies.


  • Reisigl, M. and Wodak, R. (2001). Discourse and Discrimination: Rhetorics of Racism and Antisemitism. London: Routledge.
  • Reisigl, M. and Wodak, R. (2009). ‘The Discourse Historical Approach’, in Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (eds), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage.
  • Spinoza, B. (2001). Ethics. London: Wordsworth Classics.
  • Wodak, R. (2015). The Politics of Fear: What Right Wing Populist Discourses Mean. London: Sage.
  • Wodak, R. & Boukala, S. (2015). ‘European identities and the revival of nationalism in the European Union: A discourse historical approach’, in Journal of Language and Politics 14(1) p.87-109.

Looking forward to seeing you there,

All best wishes,

Your ACDC conveners

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