Over the past decades, the concept of discourse community has been among the most contested notions in the political arena. This is subject to the range of the well known analysts that this idea is too utopian, sure or hegemonic. From the real social perspective, discourse communities appear to be stable to most advocates. Critics therefore assume an imaginary consensus as well as a shared purpose that does not really reflect the exact experience among the political community (Marshall 26). The fact that the political discourse communities is utopian has been taken to be so seductive to a point that it conceals both the language and social practices which takes place within its boundaries. This therefore has made it difficult for researchers to get into its working systems because it hinders being recognized or studied. For this reason, the issue of political discourse community has maintained its limited educational value (Marshall 26).
What Makes the Political Discourse Community?
It is difficult to understand the political means of communication in various parts of the world. For example, when looking at a public discourse about political democracy in an Arabic country, there is a fresh way of understanding their political discourse (Paltridge 59). Different methods of combining ethnographic research with communities in various parts of the world lead to a political discourse. This is done with combined investigations in regard to the discourse itself (Paltridge 58). Tools such as anthropology and sociolinguistics as well as pragmatics are used. These tools are broad methods that are applicable in general political discourse. Given the fact that all kinds of discourse are based on social aspects and interaction, it is important to note that individuals use public discourse in order to achieve both political and social goals in a totally new perspective as a result of the significance it creates (Marshall 31).
Role of the Political Discourse Community
Given the responsibility of the political discourse in the ratification, reproduction as well as the legitimization of power, there have emerged several other critical discourse on political talk and text. Up to this point, most of this study has been done by linguistics together with political discourse analysts owing to the fact that political science is one of the few fields with little of its discourse known (Marshall 30). This is regardless of the fact that there is influence from postmodern approaches of discourse. Despite the fact that political discourse in English is best know in the international level because of its hegemony in English, there is quite a lot of work that has been done in other languages too (Marshall 30-1).
Germany, for example has a long history of political discourse analysis. In this study, research is based on the study of language of war and peace, as well as how speech affects political discourse. In analyzing political discourse, there is need to understanding the existence of a strong tradition in studying fascist language and discourse (Marshall 31). This entails understanding of what lexicon, propaganda and the role of media in politics. These go hand-in-hand with knowing the political language. In France, the study of political language has earned respect in the analysis of both politics and discourse (Paltridge 68).
What is most important in political discourse analysis is the role played by particular genres in excising power and influence in the entire community (Paltridge 69). In addition, their role in the exact definition of politics and the definition of political institutions is critical in understanding political discourse. For this reason, political institutions as well as the semiotics of the planning, outfit and body language all depend on the transformance of customary forms of expression (Paltridge 71). For example, parliamentary debates in a given politics are made known through the implicit and explicit rules that govern their conduct. This leads to the emergence of new institutional political genres. The most prominent of all these may be the journalistic interview of politicians as well as the idiosyncratic genre such as the British Radio. These are some examples that describe the relationship between a politician and the general public. As a result, they are described as discourse and linguistic features. The description may go forth to an extent of evaluation of their value and the power to manipulate.
The Political Community as a Type of Human Community
Political communities are surrounded by the state and influenced by the means of commands. These commands are established by prescription of forces. There is a ratio existing between these forces and the individuals or groups that implement them. For example, in a democratically organized political society, the commands take the place of law and are basically grounded on the value played by justice and equality (Paltridge 59). These laws establish rewards upon which those who observe them are rewarded while those who fail are to be punished. The laws are also aimed at maintaining social order and at the same time imposing sanctions on those go against them.
Political discourse is fundamental in the definition of state. The term state is surrounded by an aura of suggestions so that the definition professed by any individual reveals the philosophy of life and a given perspective on the social order (Marshall 34). Therefore, people who are actively participating in politics and government are well informed of the pros and cons of the community they belong to. Politicians are therefore inclined to make considerations in regard to the state being made up of the territory as well as the population that constitute that given territory (Marshall 34). On the other hand, people who are opposed to politics view this perception as a means of restricting their own means to pursue happiness. In addition, some people view political discourse community as people who take responsibility in order to use political influence while considering the state as an impersonal structure. This structure is considered to be an institution, an authority and an abstract entity. Furthermore, individuals who consider personal autonomy view the state as an assembly of individuals which is responsible for personal and public actions (Marshall 35).
Political community is intrinsically unpredictable. All over time, the political discourse keeps changing its composition, its core values as well as interpersonal processes and associations. The interesting part is that the changing variables are well accepted in both economic and affinitive communities though denied or offensively interpreted by supporting political communities (Paltridge 96). However, in the situation of political communities, state organizations raise the argument of legitimacy in order to maintain or prolong through force in a given territory. Therefore, variability is allowed only in a case of argumentation, in no case in that of diminution/. Political community is justified by neither past justices, nor language nor religion. In addition, history confirms that there is contingency of all political communities in various kinds of organization.
Methods of Data Collection
Information regarding the political community was collected through interviewing Political Science students at the university during their project presentations. Student union council leaders were also interviewed afterwards. I also interviewed part time student-politicians at the University of Dayton via email. The email interview of part time student politicians took place before elections. In this interview, politicians explained how they are putting into place strategies to come out the best in the political race (Marshall 39). Politicians explain that daily newspapers play a critical role in either building their career or destroying it. Majority of the student politicians are new in the political community. However, there were a few who have been in the field long enough to know the pros and cons of political systems. They reason for involvement in politics is to help people feel they are represented in the government (Marshall 39).
Politicians explain that they main means of communication are via the print and digital media. They always aim at getting closer to the electorate so that they can win their vote. This is done in a very persuasive way. In some cases, politicians choose to use incentives such money so as to win the electorates interest. From the political science students, I carried a one on one interview. Their response in regard to the political discourse community was not quite detailed. They believe that members of this community share the same idea, though they differ in interest which is propelled by propaganda. They also believe that politician’s main reason for involvement in this community is both personal and public, with personal interests in most cases coming first (Paltridge 102).
The reason for this choice of method in data collection is because it allows for direct communication with both politicians and political analysts. This also gave me a chance to have a look at the thoughts behind their ideas. The interview was only involving open-ended questions that brought out the understanding of the political community as well as different issues associated with it (Paltridge 61). The data was finally analyzed basing on the John Swale’s six characteristics of a discourse community. First, politicians seem to have common goals and ambitions. The political community has their target as satisfying the wishes of the general public. This community convinces people of their ability to bring changes that have long been desired. The purpose the existence of such a community is to cause representation of the population in top government and legislative chambers where the general public cannot reach (Marshall 34).
Most members of the political community converse mainly through meetings. This is because most members have large followings; they are mostly in meetings to make communications. Cell phones and emails are used in situations where privacy is a key priority. The reason for using meetings for communication is because it shows their commitment and improves their performance in situations where there is need for mergers. In addition, meetings are used to raise money and grow better roots for political influence. The genre for communication in the political community accepted by most members is meetings. This is because in a single meeting, several issues can be discussed as opposed to phone calls or reports. The Lexis for the political discourse is not very unique as compared to other discourses like football coaching. This is because politicians are people from different backgrounds and the main issue involved is communication to the general public. This makes most of their communication formal. The “old timers” in political discourse are individuals who have been involved in politics for over ten years. These are individuals that are experienced in politics. Newcomers in political discourse are the new individuals who are joining the political community for the first time or are in their first terms in their respective political offices. Newcomers lean the political genre through continued involvement with experienced members and attending most of the meetings.
The political arena is one of the most involving communities in most countries. Some of the characteristics and traits portrayed by the political class are hard to understand and live by. Politicians have the responsibility of understanding the mind of the electorate and trying as much as possible to win their interest. There are several behind-the-scene factors that make politics interesting or not interesting. This makes it relevant to understand the literacy factors as well as general understanding that one should have in order to involve in politics.