In the Name of Freedom - A Critical Discourse Analysis of the political discourse in the inaugural speeches of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama from a postcolonial perspective

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: In this essay the public discourses of U.S. president Barack Obama and former U.S. president George W. Bush are analysed from a post-colonial perspective using the practice of Critical Discourse Analysis. I have looked into two linguistic features: pronouns and ideologically contested words and made a qualitative study of the inaugural speeches of the presidents in which they are also compared to each other. My thesis is that there are thoughts and ideas represented in the speeches which have derived from a colonial heritage.The result of the study shows that there are indeed some connections to a colonial or neocolonial way of thinking although it is not very clear what direct political consequences comes out of these. What is more explicit, however, is the lack of post-colonial insight in both Bush's and Obama's speech. Between the two Bush stands out as the more direct in his discourse but also the one with least self-criticism. In contrast Obama does beat around the bush a great deal and uses many profound expressions that he has yet to live up to.

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