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The Political Theory of Political ThinkingThe Anatomy of a Practice$
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Michael Freeden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568031.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 September 2021

Power Patterns and Power Surges: Organizing and Intensifying Speech Acts

Power Patterns and Power Surges: Organizing and Intensifying Speech Acts

(p.277) 8 Power Patterns and Power Surges: Organizing and Intensifying Speech Acts
The Political Theory of Political Thinking

Michael Freeden

Oxford University Press

Language is itself a repository of power, irrespective of the position of power wielders and the social contexts in which social power is to be found. Speech and texts have a grammar, an organizational pattern, which is a way of ordering communication. Those practices of channelling, filtering, weighting, selecting, and sequencing human expressiveness involve processes that are palpably political. Power is also specifically manifested through conceptual and argumentative intensifiers that are either designed to augment, or are capable of augmenting irrespective of particular intent, the impact of the speech or text. Drawing on speech-act theory and other frameworks, the chapter considers rational persuasion, rhetoric, emotion, and menace as forms of intensification, and hence power, immanent in all language. It also examines the relationship between capacity, exercise, and impact, arguing that the first alone is insufficient to identify a successful power transaction, and raises the problem of misdirected power.

Keywords:   power, intensity, persuasion, rhetoric, emotion, menace, speech-act

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