Self and Other Metaphors as Facilitating Features of Populist Style in Diplomatic Discourse: A Case Study of Obama and Putin’s Speeches

  • Liudmila Arcimavičienė


The contestability of the concept of populism and the variability of its application have given rise to long-lasting discussions about what populist features in discourse are and how these can be empirically determined and tested. This chapter offers a cognitive socio-linguistic approach to evaluating how populist framing in political (diplomatic) discourse can be facilitated through the use of Self and Other metaphors. Its specific aims involve the identification of metaphors in the context of political identity construction and their populist use vis-à-vis the discursive strategies of legitimisation and delegitimisation in the political speeches delivered by Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, two leaders representing opposite leadership styles and ideologies. To achieve the above aims, Arcimavičienė examined the interrelated speeches delivered by President Obama and President Putin in the time span of two years (2014–2015) in the analytical framework of Critical Metaphor Analysis by applying Pragglejaz Group’s Metaphor Identification Procedure (2007). This analysis demonstrated that their metaphor use contributes to the framing of these leaders’ populism through the metaphorical extension of the core concept of ‘the people’ onto the concept of ‘the nations,’ and, more importantly, that the discursive strategies of legitimisation and delegitimisation can be used in parallel but with different metaphoric intensity and ideological purposes.


Populism framing Metaphor analysis Legitimisation Delegitimisation Political discourse 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liudmila Arcimavičienė
    • 1
  1. 1.Vilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

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