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Title: Discourse and political myth-making : a critical discourse study of Nkrumaism
Authors: Nartey, Mark
Advisors: Evans, Stephen (ENGL)
Bhatia, Aditi (ENGL)
Ahrens, Kathleen (ENGL)
Keywords: Discourse analysis -- Political aspects
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Abstract: This study critically examines political myth-making in the discourse of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president and a pioneering Pan-African leader. It focuses on the characterization, intentions behind and the functions of political myth as well as the discursive strategies, (de)legitimation devices and metaphorical representations used by political actors to promote a certain world conceptualization as a universally held view and a shared ideal. It achieves this objective by investigating Nkrumah's formulation and promotion of a univocal narrative that indicates that without the establishment of a federal African republic, Africa is doomed forever - herein referred to as the Unite or Perish myth. Employing a combined analytic framework of critical metaphor analysis and discourse-historical analysis and a corpus of 154 Nkrumah speeches, the study explores how the Unite or Perish myth is discursively constructed, how it is naturalized into the consciousness of the public and its embedded ideological meaning. The findings reveal that the Unite or Perish myth is used by Nkrumah to promote an emancipatory discourse and a discourse of resistance through his identification of Africa's Conspiratorial Enemy and his depiction of himself as a Valiant Leader, a Noble Revolutionary and Africa's Messiah. The results also show that four main types of metaphor (war, religion and morality, journey and personification) enabled Nkrumah to present an idealized vision of the social world in a way that aligns with his world conceptualization, serves his political agenda and upholds his social ideals. Further, the study finds that Nkrumah used four main discursive strategies to construct 'the African people' in a way that presents the Unite or Perish myth as a form of populist discourse. These include nomination and predication of social actors and actions, the construction of a man of the people image, the ideological appropriation of familiarity and historical memory and the exploitation of an emotionalized blame attribution or a scapegoating dynamic. By providing insights into the relationship between discourse, ideology and mythology in a setting underexplored in the literature, this study furthers understanding on the content, form and function of political myth. It also sheds light on the relevance of language and semiosis to how politics is performed and conceptualized, and illustrates the role of language and (post-independence) leaders in political decolonization processes. Finally, this study highlights the value of a combined discourse analytic framework and offers theoretical insights into discourse-mythological studies by bringing to the fore the nexus between political mythology and populist ideology.
Description: xiii, 286 pages : color illustrations
PolyU Library Call No.: [THS] LG51 .H577P ENGL 2019 Nartey
Rights: All rights reserved.
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