A discourse of governance: Ideological positions in the inaugural of the Ghanaian fourth republic

05 March 2019 -05 March 2019 @ 17:00 - 18:00


March 5, 2019
05:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Room 12, Department of English Language and Linguistics, Rhodes University
Event Type:


Ralph Adendorff
+27 46 603 8487

The inaugural address has received a fair bit of scholarly attention due to the strength in the argument that it occupies an important position among discourses that can be termed political; and of course, the recognition that it performs an important political function within the state. Primary interest in the inaugural address has mainly been from the field of rhetoric and composition. This study approaches the inaugural from a critical discourse analysis (CDA) perspective that allows for an examination of the discourse of governance as it is ideologically expressed in the inaugural address. Four (4) inaugural addresses of four (4) presidents within Ghana’s fourth republican tradition were purposefully selected to create a mini corpus for the study. Using the theory of transitivity and drawing on ideas of subject positioning and agency in discourse, the analysis examines how, through the first person discourse referent, the principals in the addresses are able to use their subject positions and agency within the inaugural as a discourse type, to construct their ideology of governance and define their role within that enterprise. The study also undertakes an examination of lexico-grammatical complexity as a window into the ideological political traditions that the four (4) presidents represent. A general conclusion that the study draws is that although the discourse of the inaugural constrains partisan ideological positions, the principals of the address are able to express clear ideological differences with regard to governance.

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