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Discourse and Politics
Discourse and politics
PaulChilton and ChristinaSchäffner

Some philosophers – and here Descartes is the best known – have defined humans as essentially linguistic animals. Aristotle, on the other hand, famously defined humans as political animals. No doubt both definitions contain a germ of truth. What political discourse analysts would probably claim, if they were to think philosophically, would be that the one definition necessarily involves the other. It is surely the case that politics cannot be conducted without language, and it is also probably the case that the use of language in the constitution of social groups leads to what we would call ‘politics’ in a broad sense.

Although the study of language has never been central to the academic disciplines concerned with politics, some ...

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