Next ACDC meeting, Maarten van Leeuwen on “Style and the Creation of a Poitical Image: Wilders, ‘man of the people’.” 07.06.2016, 15:30-17:00, VU 1A58

Dear colleagues,

We kindly invite you to attend the next ACDC meeting, in which Dr Maarten van Leeuwen (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics) will present his research.

  • Date: June 7th, 2016
  • Time: 15:30-1700
  • Place: VU University, De Boelelaan 1105,1081 HV Amsterdam, room 1-A-58

Abstract: Style and the Creation of a Poitical Image: Wilders, ‘man of the people’.

In the analysis of political discourse, it has been noted that politicians can exhibit ‘closeness’ or ‘distance’ to their audience. These metaphorical notions capture the idea that politicians can align themselves more or less with their audience, for instance by identifying with their audience (or not), by standing up for their interests (or not), etc.

It is customary practice to answer the question to what extent a politician exhibits closeness or distance to his audience by analysing choices in forms of address and/or choices in pronoun use (e.g. Ilie 2009, Duszak 2002, De Fina 1995, Wilson 1990). Especially the use of inclusive/exclusive ‘we’ has often been studied. My paper will be a plea to look at other linguistic-stylistic devices as well. I will argue that choices in forms of address and pronouns are only two of many linguistic-stylistic devices that are used by politicians to exhibit closeness or distance to their audience.

A detailed analysis of parliamentary speeches of Geert Wilders of the PVV (Party for Freedom) will serve as a case study. Wilders has created the image of being a spokesman for ‘the people’. How does his language use contribute to this image of being close to the people? By using a linguistic-stylistic checklist as a methodological tool (cf. Van Leeuwen 2015, Leech & Short 2007), I will argue that Wilders systematically uses a cluster of linguistic-stylistic techniques to create and maintain the image of being a man of the people. I would like to discuss this extended method and its added value to discourse-analytic studies.

De Fina, A. (1995). Pronominal choice, identity, and solidarity in political discourse. Text 15, 379-410.
Duszak, A. (2002). Us and Others: An introduction. In A. Duszak (red.): Us and Others. Social identities across languages, discourses and cultures. Amsterdam [etc.]: John Benjamins, 1-28.
Ilie, C. (2009). Strategic uses of parliamentary forms of address. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 885-911.
Leech, G. & M. Short (2007). Style in Fiction, A Linguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose. Longman.
Leeuwen, M. van (2015). Stijl en politiek. Een taalkundig-stilistische benadering van Nederlandse parlementaire toespraken. Utrecht: LOT dissertation series.
Wilson, J. (1990). Politically speaking: Pragmatic Analysis of Political Language. Oxford: Blackwell.


Dr. Maarten van Leeuwen is a lecturer in Dutch discourse studies at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL). In his research, he focuses on rhetorical consequences of linguistic choices in the domain of politics, by applying insights from stylistics, discourse studies, rhetoric and cognitive linguistics.

RSVP in view of drinks and snacks: Nicolina Montesano Montessori

Kind regards,

The ACDC convenors,

Nicolina Montesano Montessori, Bertie Kaal, Steve Oswald, Julian Albadejo Suárez, Neil Thompson

This entry was posted in Announcement, Events. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s