Project will reveal why politicians say the things they do
Dr Alan Finlayson (pictured below), a Reader in Swansea University's Department of Politics and International Relations has been awarded a grant of more than £100,000 to investigate how politicians speak.
The three-year project, which is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is entitled How the Leader Speaks: Rhetoric, Argumentation and British Political Speech.
It will investigate how and why politicians explain or justify themselves in the way they do, how they make arguments, and how they address different audiences.
It will also examine how political speech in the UK has and has not changed over the last century, in response to the demands of new media technologies.
Most of the funding has been set aside to cover the costs of a Research Fellow, who will assist in the compilation and digitisation of all the speeches delivered by the main party leaders to their annual conferences or conventions since 1895.
The speeches will be made available to other researchers on a website, and will be of interest to historians, political scientists, linguists and rhetoricians in the UK, the US, and Europe.
Dr Finlayson said: "The archive will form the basis for a detailed study of the development and change in the way politicians make their public arguments.
"By examining the way they talk about particular issues, employ figures of speech such as metaphors, and the extent to which they try to stir up emotions, I hope that we can establish whether there are repeated patterns to British political rhetoric, or whether there have been considerable changes."
The project is part of more general research that Dr Finlayson has carried out into political rhetoric. Some of his work has been theoretical in nature, and some of it has concerned the development of a methodology of Rhetorical Political Analysis.
The funding will make it possible to test and develop the theory and method with detailed empirical research.
For more information about the Department of Politics and International Relations visit the Department's website.