The Use of Insults in Ghanaian Political Discourse
A Critical Discourse Analysis
Emmanuel Amo Ofori
University of Cape Coast
Many scholars have argued that insults are meant to cause mental pain, embarrassment, and disgrace (Agyekum, 2004); they are a violation of the principles of politeness (Leech, 1983); and they are face-threatening acts (Brown and Levinson, 1987). Therefore, they may be considered in many societies as socially unacceptable. In this study, however, the author argues that the use of insults in Ghanaian political discourse is a means by which ordinary citizens challenge the existing social power. The study further looks at the underlying ideologies in the representation of insults in pro-NPP and NDC newspapers. To achieve these ends, Fairclough’s (1989) threedimensional approach was adopted, that is, discourse-as-text, discourse-as-discursive-practice and discourse-as-social practice. Drawing on these three layers, the text is linked to context, and the sociopolitical and cultural context are connected to the society in general. By studying the sociopolitical and cultural context, the analysis reveals media empowerment of the powerless in society to make their voices heard in political discussion to the extent of insulting and challenging the existing social power. Also, by employing van Dijk’s (1998) ideological square, the study reveals the ideological differences and political spin in the representation of insults in both NPP and NDC newspapers.
ISBN 9783969390627. LINCOM Studies in Communication 17. 157pp. 2021.