”Der er brug for os”

- en undersøgelse af ’partiformandens landsmødetale’ som retorisk genre med fokus på Anders Samuelsens tale ved Liberal Alliances landsmøde i 2013
Whenever a political party in Denmark holds its annual conference, it is an important event. Especially, the party leader’s main speech is considered decisive, not only by the party members present, but also by the news media broadcasting from the conference to a wide audience in Denmark.

This thesis is a rhetorical generic investigation of party leaders’ conference speeches in a present-day context. Through an expanded rhetorical generic criticism of four speeches from 2013, a tentative and preliminary description of the genre is made, and it is evaluated, compared, and discussed how these four speeches conform to the genre. The focus is primarily on Danish party leader Anders Samuelsen’s speech at the Liberal Alliance’s conference.

14 essential generic functions are pointed out, and it is concluded that the genre is an epideictic subgenre with obvious political elements and supportive forensic features. In this way, the speeches are Aristotelian hybrids reflecting a complex rhetorical situation. Furthermore, a number of ethical issues are discussed, e.g. a tendency for pronounced hostility towards political opponents and lack of appeal through logos. Finally, it is shown how the genre is dynamic and how it contains variable elements, responding to individual requirements in the rhetorical situations, at the same time expressing the rhetorical agency of each party leader. It is concluded that every speech will be a unique example of the genre, and it is shown how Anders Samuelsen’s speech differs from the others by having a more pronounced use of enemy rhetoric, humour, and irony.

No former investigation in this field has been made in a Danish context. Therefore, this thesis contributes new information on a subject interesting many Danish voters and party members as well as people producing the speeches, performing them, or covering them in the news media. In addition, the project offers insight into a fruitful use of rhetorical criticism and theory of genres.

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