Methodological Approaches in Political Psychology: Discourse and Narrative

  • Phillip L. Hammack
  • Andrew Pilecki
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political Psychology Series book series (PSPP)


In his speech formally nominating US president Barack Obama for re-election at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton used the power of language to forge a link between Obama and the would-be voter. He crafted contrasting societal narratives of ‘you’re-on-your-own’ versus ‘we’re-all-in-this-together’, evoking contrasting imagery of isolation versus community in the midst of hardship and linking these narratives to two distinct party ideologies. The speech was rhetorically constructed to motivate and inspire an electorate that had become increasingly complacent amidst continued economic decline and the bitterness of an ugly campaign. Clinton delivered a series of rational arguments about why re-electing Obama would be vital — arguments rooted at least in part, as he put it, in ‘arithmetic’. Employing a rhetoric not just of reason but also of emotion (‘And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.’), he argued that Obama represented not just the sound, logical choice but the only hope for a politics of ‘cooperation’ rather than ‘constant conflict’.


Discourse Analysis Discursive Practice Intergroup Relation Political Psychology Critical Discourse Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Phillip L. Hammack and Andrew Pilecki 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phillip L. Hammack
  • Andrew Pilecki

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