Politics, Media and Campaign Language
Australia’s Identity Anxiety
About This Book
‘Beneath the clashing rhetoric of election campaigns lies another contested agenda, the framing of national aspirations and anxieties, barely acknowledged in media commentary. Stephanie Brookes, with her strong historical sweep, reveals how the changing language reflects the changing visions and fears of parties and public.’
—Rodney Tiffen, Emeritus Professor of Government and International Relations, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, University of Sydney, Australia
‘In an age of disillusion, Stephanie Brookes’s analysis of Australian identities imagined, contested and created in campaign rhetoric is a revelation. This novel history of political discourse captures who we believe we are, and why.’
—James Walter, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia
‘Stephanie Brookes delves behind the speeches our leaders make at election time to expose what they’re really trying to do. Understanding how and why this is done is an important aid to our democracy.’ —Dennis Glover, speechwriter and author of 'The Art of Great Speeches'
‘Politics, Media and Campaign Language’ is an original, groundbreaking analysis of the story of Australian identity, told through Australian election campaign language. It argues that the story of Australian identity is characterised by recurring cycles of anxiety and reassurance, which betray a deep underlying feeling of insecurity. Introducing the concept of identity security, it takes electoral language as its focus, and demonstrates that election campaigns provide a valuable window into an overlooked part of Australia’s political and cultural history.
This book reclaims Australian campaign speech and electoral history to tell the story of changing national values and priorities, and traces the contours of our collective conversations about national identity. Rare in Australian politics, this approach is more common in the United States where campaign language is seen as providing a valuable insight into the continuing cultural negotiation of the collective values, priorities and concerns of the national community. In this conception, political leaders have significant influence but must function within and respond to the complex and shifting dynamics of public and media dialogue, and to changing social, political and economic conditions.
In this way, the book uses elections to provide a fresh perspective on both Australian political history and the development of Australian identity, bringing together, for the first time, a wide range of primary sources from across Australian electoral history: campaign speeches, interviews, press conferences and leaders’ debates. The book grounds analysis of campaign communication in a range of textual examples and detailed case studies. These vivid case studies bring the narrative journey to life, drawing on those leaders who have successfully aligned themselves with the nation’s values, priorities and plans for the future. The book also reintroduces readers to the alternative visions of those who were not successful at the ballot box, tracing campaign battles between competing narratives of what it means to be Australian.
Stephanie Brookes is lecturer in journalism studies, School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University, Australia. She researches at the intersection of media and politics, focusing on questions of identity and belonging in news media and political discourse. Brookes has previously published her research in book chapters and journal articles. 'Politics, Media and Campaign Language' is her first book.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. Storytelling; 3. Belonging; 4. Values; 5. Community; 6. Security; 7. Vision; 8. Hearts and Minds; Appendices; References; Index.