Securitization and the Power of Language - A Discourse Analysis of the Legitimatization of the Assassination of Major General Soleimani
Abstract: Language and discourse can create a space where political decision-making and action is accepted despite its untypical nature. The goal of the study is to un-derstand how political discourse is constructed with the aim of legitimizing ex-traordinary action in relation to the framework of securitization. The study revolves around how and why President Trump discursively attempts to legitimize his order that led to the assassination of Iranian Major General Soleimani, on the 2nd of Jan-uary 2020, by conducting a discourse analysis of two speeches delivered within the first week following the event. The study contributes with insight on the particular case, and shows how Maj. Gen. Soleimani is represented as an irrational terrorist, who posed imminent danger to the American people. The act attempted legitimized is presented as done in the name of ‘security’ which seeks to justify the notion of President Trump ‘breaking free’ of usual procedures. The main conclusions of the study are the presented legitimatization strategies, including the linguistic constella-tion of an existential threat, the allusion of a hypothetical future and the exploitation of emotional trauma. Moreover, the findings uncover that a securitization move has taken place within the analyzed speeches.
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