“Stirring it up!” Emotionality in audience responses to political speeches

Bull, P ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4739-2892 and Waddle, M ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4679-7759 2021, '“Stirring it up!” Emotionality in audience responses to political speeches' , Russian Journal of Linguistics, 25 (3) , pp. 611-627.

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (585kB) | Preview


Speaker-audience interaction in political speeches has been conceptualised as a form of dialogue between speaker and audience. Of particular importance is research pioneered by Atkinson (e.g., 1983, 1984a, 1984b) on the analysis of rhetorical devices utilised by politicians to invite audience applause. Atkinson was not concerned with emotionalisation in political speech-making, rather with how applause was invited in relation to group identities through ingroup praise and/or outgroup derogation. However, his theory has provided important insights into how speakers invite audience responses, and a powerful stimulus for associated research. The purpose of this article is to address the shortfall of emotionalisation research within the realm of political speeches. We begin with an account of Atkinson’s influential theory of rhetoric, followed by a relevant critique. The focus then turns to our main aim, namely, how key findings from previous speech research can be interpreted in terms of emotionalisation. Specifically, the focus is on audience responses to the words of political speakers, and how different forms of response may reflect audience emotionality. It is proposed that both duration and frequency of invited affiliative audience responses may indicate more positive emotional audience responses, while uninvited interruptive audience applause and booing may provide notable clues to issues on which audiences have strong feelings. It is concluded that there is strong evidence that both invited and uninvited audience responses may provide important clues to emotionalisation - both positive and negative - in political speeches.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Russian Journal of Linguistics
Publisher: Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)
ISSN: 2687-0088
Related URLs:
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2021 15:43
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 17:10
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/62277

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year