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Radicalism, Populism, Interventionism. Three Approaches Based on Discourse Theory
Cluj‐Napoca The Publishing House of the Foundation for European Studies EFES 2008
On the first cover: Goya, El sueño de la razon produce monstruos (1799) Cover designer: Radu Gaciu
Motto: “The fact that every object is constituted as an object of discourse has nothing to do with whether there is a world external to thought, or with the realism/idealism opposition. An earthquake or the falling of a brick is an event that certainly exists, in the sense that it occurs here and now, independently of my will. But whether their specificity as objects is constructed in terms of ʹnatural phenomenaʹ or ʹexpressions of the wrath of Godʹ, depends upon the structuring of a discursive field. What is denied is not that such objects exist externally to thought, but the rather different assertion that they could constitute themselves as objects outside any discursive condition of emergence.”
Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, London: Verso, 1985, p. 108
.......... 11 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation....................................................... 17 Discourse Theory and L’Europe rebelle ............................................................. 47 Assuming a racist identity........... 76 Operation Iraqi Freedom.... 43 The emergence of FN and LPF as Radical Populist parties ................... An Inquiry Based on an International Research Project ......................................................... 63 Radical populist identity .............................................................................. An analysis of the Political Discourse of Front National and Lijst Pim Fortuyn.................................................................................................................... 52 Assuming the populist identity from the ideological point of view................................. 66 Conclusions ......... 97 Conclusions ...............................................................................................vii CONTENTS About the Authors............................................................................................ 29 The New Populism................... 121 ............ 36 Approaching “Critical Discourse Analysis” .................................................................................. 68 The Discursive Road form 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom ................................................. 15 Discourse Theory and Politics............................ 119 Bibliography.......................... 20 Conclusions ...................................................................... 33 Hegemony and antagonism........................................... 31 Conceptualizing discourse.......................... 70 The Discursive Approach: Preliminary Remarks............... 46 Bearing a fascist identity................................................................. 71 9/11 and “the War on Terror”............................................ 14 L’Europe rebelle – an international research project ............................................................................................ix Introduction.....................................................................................................................................................
........... Creation of discursive hegemony . 39 ..viii Table of Figures Figure 1: Ernesto Laclau..
in 2006). she obtained her BA degree with the thesis Making Sense of Immigrants and Muslim Immigrants in France and in the Netherlands. In 2008. in 2005 and Nation Formation. and he is the author of thirty articles published in Romania. She is particularly interested in the role of discourse in making politics matter and she intends to enlarge her research area to ways of improving the discourse on promoting the European identity. France and Moldova. in Romanian. ‘Babes‐Bolyai’ University in Cluj‐Napoca. Romania. he obtained his PhD degree in Political Science at the University of Paris‐Est Marne‐la‐Vallée (France) and his PhD degree in History at the ‘Babes‐Bolyai’ University. Romania. the Netherlands. He published two books (Le Front National et ses répercussions sur l’échiquier politique français 1972‐2002. A Social Constructivist Approach. in 2007). a reviewer for Freedom House’s Annual Report Nations in Transit.ix About the Authors Sergiu Mişcoiu is a Lecturer of Political Science at the Faculty of European Studies. His main research interests are the constructivist and the alternative theories applied to the nation building processes. to the radical political participation and to the political dynamics of the European public spaces. she is enrolled at Leiden University. in 2004 and Perceptions and Attitudes of the ‘Babes‐Bolyai’ University Students in the European Union. where she follows a master’s programme in Public Administration European Governance. co‐edited two international volumes (Issues of Democratic Consolidation in Romania. in Romanian. . the Editor‐in‐Chief of the Academic Journal Studia Europaea and a chronicler for Radio France Culture. Sergiu Miscoiu is also the Acting Director of the Centre for Political Studies and International Relations. Oana‐Raluca Crãciun studied International Relations European Studies at ‘Babes‐Bolyai’ University in Cluj‐Napoca. In 2006. United Kingdom. Presently.
Romania. where she follows a master’s program in Multicultural Studies. Presently she is enrolled at ´Babes‐ Bolyai´ University in Cluj‐Napoca. In 2008 she obtained her BA degree with the thesis From 9/11 to the Intervention in Iraq: an Analysis based on Discourse Theory.x Nicoleta Colopelnic studied International Relations European Studies at ´Babes‐Bolyai´ University in Cluj‐Napoca. Her main interests are the alternative approaches to international relations. the discursive identification of the Other and Orientalism. .
See Jean‐François Lyotard.3 But along with audacity comes vulnerability: by sticking to the linguistic area.2 Then. 2000. 1984. Discourse Theory. and. and far from the scientific core that it aspired to. “The Logic of Non‐Standard English” (1969) in The Routledge Language and Cultural Theory Reader. Discourse Theory was placed at most at the margin of social sciences. 35‐40. 1991. as the new discipline was trying to create a critical difference and to challenge in this way the structuralist establishment of that time. Cambridge: Polity Press. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp 8‐13. 1 . especially its two first generations. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Discourse Theory was always subjected to contestation coming from the scientists who rejected the postmodernist assumptions and methods. Introduction Sergiu Mişcoiu Since the beginning of the 1970s. It shared with Postmodernism the same mistrust in meta‐narratives and the same vision on the flexibility of truth. seems to have been a permanent subject of dispute. even if its most recent developments appear less and less relativist. pp. as a mere supplier of ideas concerning the modes of production of words. mainly for three reasons. texts and speeches. 456‐466. Discourse theory does not make an exception and. phrases. A Marxist Critique. the emergence of the so‐called ‘alternative approaches’ has generated a series of continuous debates about the scientific pertinence of the ‘neophyte’ disciplines that were more or less willingly included in the area of the non‐traditional sciences. 3 A pioneering work that backs this argument is the one of William Labov. The linguistic approach was by that time the only option. put the linguistic approaches as their methodological fundaments. moreover. Discourse Theory was built on the bases of Postmodernism. New York: Routledge. 2 Starting with Alex Callinicos. First. Against Postmodernism.1 Thus. See William Labov.
An extensive bibliography that gathers the sources used for the ensemble of these contributions may be found at the end of this volume. The contribution of Oana Raluca Crăciun aims at rendering understandable the contribution of Discourse Theory to the study of Radical Populism. if necessary. he analyses the capacity of Discourse Theory’s insights to bring a new perspective on the basic militants’ motivations to join the ‘rebellious’ movements and to act against the post‐1989 Romanian political system. there has been a sizable amount of uncertainty concerning the autonomy of this discipline. he employs as case‐studies the subjects of an international research project that he co‐managed. our intention is to test and. As a consequence. the National Front in France and the List Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands. the book is built upon three contributions that concentrate on the application of discourse theory in three different cases. Step‐by‐step. Even if Discourse Theory has become a school of thought in the traditional sense of this concept.12 Introduction And finally. its opponents claimed that there was no common base for some extremely atomised interdisciplinary and inter‐paradigmatic approaches. especially as. L’Europe rebelle. nor in the presence of a volume that wishes to discredit a theory just because some of its assertions are simply incompatible with the prior findings of the authors. such as those of Discourse Theory. Sergiu Mişcoiu’s article discusses the opportunity of applying Discourse Theory to the study of the radical anti‐system movements. We are neither in the case of an adulatory collection of articles that bring an homage to the everlasting wisdom of a certain discipline. she employs the emergence of two far‐ right European political parties. this book is a critical assessment of Discourse Theory’s added value in explaining some crucial processes that influence nowadays national and international relations. Far from being a manifesto in favour of Discourse Theory or a collection of empirical attempts to cement the vacillating bases of a less solid discipline. Oana Raluca Crăciun shows to what . Discourse Theory has made rather successful efforts to broaden its scope to the ensemble of the social. For that. As case‐studies. since the 1990s. Rather. cultural and political spheres. By putting forward both the advantages and the disadvantages of using Discourse Theory and Critical Discourse Analysis in these two case‐studies. to remodel various propositions of Discourse Theory as a result of their confrontation to three different types of political situations.
13 extent it is necessary to connect insights from various disciplines in order to analyse controversial phenomena. she corroborates the assumptions of Discourse Theory with those of Social Psychology and those of Cultural Theory. Populism. Three Approaches. Nicoleta Colopelnic’s article is based on the discursive construction through time of the idea of ’Orient’ in the view of the ‘Westerners’ and studies the way in which this construction was used in order to back USA’s decision to intervene in Iraq. and applies this interdisciplinary ensemble on some critically important ideological constructions during the co‐called ‘War on Terror’.. Interventionism. For that.Radicalism. Bush’s representation of the ‘Axe of Evil’. At the same time. at least as a side‐device. like George W. Perhaps the main contribution of this book is that it shows that Discourse Theory could provide not only some theoretical advancement but also some determinant tools for the empirical research. . this book also intends to show the limits of those discursive approaches that consider the social sphere as being a simple extension of the linguistic interrelationships and do not take into account.. in 2003. the scientific methods of some other disciplines.
contestation has changed its nature and its appearance. Then. France. I will use different quotation marks for the metaphors that I will use and for the words used by the subjects of my interviews. I will use the words rebel and rebellious in a rather metaphoric sense and in connection with the title of this project and not necessarily to describe an imminent upsurge. I will investigate the framework of discourse theory in order to filter the elements that will be applied in the case studies of the Romanian rebels. Romania). This contribution attempts to evaluate the explicative added value of discourse theory to the study of the Romanian rebellious movements. 1 . I will briefly expose the framework of the research project L’Europe rebelle (a joint project of the Universities Paris‐Est Marne‐la‐ Vallée. 2 The title chosen for the project was meant to be both descriptive and teasing. and Babes‐Bolyai. Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. Cluj. I will evaluate the contribution of the above‐selected theoretical elements to the In order to avoid some possible misunderstandings.2 I will concentrate on the Romanian component of this project and try to highlight the specific aspects of the individuals and of the movements who belong more or less to the world of the anti‐system contestation. The place of the mass movements who openly contested power has been taken by the quasi‐ sectarian units or the informal pressure groups whose actions are generally a strange combination between violent sabotages and meticulous constructions of parallel worlds. An Inquiry Based on an International Research Project Sergiu Mişcoiu Ignored for a long period of time.1 In the first part. But between 1968 and 2008. In the third section. the phenomenon of contestation has made its return among the main research interests on the occasion of the celebration of the May 1968 upsurge. Thus. In this article. I will respectively use italics for my metaphors and ‘single quotation marks’ for those used by the interviewed.
During the first stage of the project. First. to radically change or to suppress the present political realities. provided that at least one of the activities of those groups was the contestation of the actual political system or at least of one of its elements.Radicalism. The subjects’ selection was made by following three criteria. the team has chosen about twenty rebellious political movements which seemed to be relevant for this approach. the team established the criteria for selecting the rebellious population that will be studied. the team opted for the semi‐directed interviews and for the analytical monographic studies. Poland and Romania. and. the subjects have to be contemporary rebels.. the former rebels. Thus. In this sense. meaning individuals whose actions aimed to question. 15 understanding of the phenomenon of contestation in nowadays Romania. Finally. as for the expected results. and especially the antifascist resistants and the The General Manager of the project L’Europe rebelle (The Rebellious Europe) is Professor Chantal Delsol. whereas the Research Manager for Romania is Dcotor Sergiu Miscoiu. Three Approaches. I will draw the main conclusions concerning the merits and the limits of discourse theory in approaching the Romanian contestation movements. The team has also decided that the interest of this project was to provide a multidisciplinary understanding of the reasons behind the political involvement of the anti‐system activists. ultra‐orthodox militants etc. implicitly. L’Europe rebelle – an international research project The research project L’Europe rebelle is the result of a collective reflection of an international group of experts gathered within the Laboratory « Espaces Ethiques et Politiques » of the University Paris‐Est Marne‐la‐Vallée. social and religious groups. Anarchists.3 The main objective of this project is to identify the reasons behind rebellious activism in three European countries having different cultural traditions – France. Interventionism. Populism. Finally. I will try to show how the main assumptions of discourse theory could be applied in the analysis of the Romanian contestation phenomenon and I will provide significant examples: far left and far right. the area of the only political movements was enlarged to the ethnic. As for the methods. 3 . revolutionaries.. At the beginning.
According to this third criterion. he or she writes the monographic study. As we considered that researchers have already extensively studied the leaders of the radical or extremist political movements. parties or networks. are excluded from this project. this research supposes the following rationale: the inquirer makes a half‐guided interview with the chosen militant and. to the paths of the value systems construction. . From the methodological point of view. and so on. we decided that one of the most original aspects of this project would be its focus on the basic activists. Even if the former dissidents could have constituted an important resource for the case‐studies on Romania and Poland. So. consequently. based on the interview. if necessary. to the friend circles. the chosen militants and. the inquirer could add a chapter with some precisions concerning the nature. to the professional evolution. we have approached a single neo‐fascist Polish militant. to the various reports with the political and social spheres. a single Romanian ultra‐orthodox activist. the ideology and the activity of the respective movement. the team considered that the coherence of the project resided especially in the transversal analysis of the phenomenon of rebellion against nowadays democratic systems. In this way. The last criterion was diversity. the history. associations. our studies concentrated on the paths of the simple militants who constitute the fundamental structures of the rebellious movements and not on the carriers of their leaders. should be nationally unique. we have excluded all the individuals who contested a totalitarian system or a certain political system prior to the democratic transition in Central and Eastern Europe. the movements held for this research. The essential part of the monographic study has to concentrate on the analysis of the subject’s militant activity and on the perspectives of his or her political involvement. An Inquiry… anticommunist dissidents. a single French Anarchist. Finally. the only means that could have ensured the extension of the range of cases was the variety of the subjects’ typologies. As a quantitative research based upon a precise sampling procedure was not the purpose of this project. Thus. The interviews cover the ensemble of details that could clarify the reasons and the modalities of the subjects’ involvement in the activity of rebellion: aspects related to the familial life.16 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. The second criterion concerned the quality of the subjects as activists within their groups.
in successive stages. 2000 and Chantal Mouffe (ed. Grammaire de l’émancipation. 5 Jacques Derrida.. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe7. confrontation. a collective volume about the phenomenon of rebellion in Europe will be published. meaning that it contributed. destruction and restructuring of the dominant networks of For a synthesis of Foucault’s view on discourse. Paris: Seuil.Radicalism. London. See Norman Fairclough. (Anthologie établie et présentée par Arnold I. Paris: La Découverte. By the end of this project. pp. Populism. Interventionism. 1967. New York: Routledge. Discourse Theory and Politics The shakings that took place in the seventies within the scientific community allowed the emergence of the postmodern and of the poststructuralist approaches. Three Approaches. especially. Discourse theory belongs to the family of these alternative approaches. 7 See. Philosophie. in a narrow sense.). 61‐79. the approach of the third generation has been intimately related with the apprehension of politics. literature discusses about the existence of three generations of this school of thought. Longman: 1995. prompted by the weakening of the classical ideologies after the end of the Cold War. is one of the most salient representatives of the second generation. mainly on the constitution. 409‐428. 17 L’Europe rebelle started in May 2007 and ends in December 2009. If the starting point of discourse theory was the work of Michel Foucault4 and Jacques Derrida5. Ernesto Laclau. Deconstruction and Pragmatism. Paris: Gallimard. Critical Discourse Analysis. to the dismantlement of the great convictions held by the pre‐ existing scientific framework. especially the chapter « L’écriture. 4 . the founder of Critical Discourse Analysis. The first two generations were rather tributary to the genuine visions and concentrated on the linguistic and semantic aspects of discourse. 1996. His main concern was related to the approach of the linguistic techniques used by speakers in their efforts to impose a certain conclusion if the contradictory debates. 6 Norman Fairclough. L’écriture et la différence. Anthologie. see Michel Foucault. “L’Ordre du Discours” in Michel Foucault. Davidson et Frédéric Gros). pp.6 On a contrary. Two of the most salient representatives of this generation. 1999.. have concentrated on the study of the discursive representation of the power relations. le signe et le jeu dans le discours des sciences humaines ».
rationality or. the global warming theory are as many false essences that pretend to offer a final explanation of mankind destiny. the discourse theorists see behind the efforts deployed to achieve a unique and final representation of the world the desire to establish a political hegemony. Following Foucault and Lyotard. The purpose of discourse theory is to search for the deepest consequences of the absence of a Centre capable to structure and to manage the world. p.). the adepts of discourse theory consider that there is no pre‐existing and self‐ determining essence of the world. Religion. more recently. capitalism. or.9 Truth seems to be conditioned by a truth regime. meaning that we produce (and we consciously or unconsciously reproduce) descriptions and 8 See David Howarth. Jacob Torfing (ed. Policy and Governance. For discourse theorists. within which the identities of the actors are always established via interaction. An Inquiry… power through the dynamics of the discursive placements.18 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. Contingency. 9 See Richard Rorty. Its starting point seems to be Richard Rorty’s idea according to which the existence of reality does not guarantee the existence of truth. Grosso modo. 13. 1989. That is why we cannot have the necessary means to declare that a statement is true per se. identity construction through the discursively analyzable social interactions becomes the essential object of discourse theorists. the epistemology of discourse theory is rather relativist. as Foucault put it. The claim of an absolute truth has to be abandoned once and for all. the application of these two premises necessarily results into a polymorphous system of relations. Secondly. The central idea of discourse theory is that identity is constituted by subject’s self‐ determination in relation to its non‐identities. . Cambridge: University Press. Discourse Theory in European Politics. Irony and Solidarity. displacements and replacements. class struggle. which. discourse theory is based on an anti‐essentialist ontology and anti‐foundationalist epistemology. This operation is quasi‐discursive. is co‐ extensive with power itself. 2005.8 In the first place. in other words. Discourse theorists show that truth is elastic and ephemeral and depends of the truth regime that holds the rules for assessing the truth claim of a certain sentence. to the identities of the others. Identity. but we can only have the possibility to measure its alleged truth consistency in relation to a certain context and to our own perception of the outer world. Thus. Palgrave: Macmillan.
it seems that they succeeded only in a limited area of subfields. On Populist Reason. The new waves of political extremism – revolutionary Trotskyism. finally. whereas the most of the analyses based on social determinism have failed to offer a satisfactory explanation for the emergence. discourse is both the creator and the alterator of identity. discourse theory was able to include and to make understandable the multidimensional aspects of extremism and radicalism. London: Verso. the evolution and the decay of radical and extremist movements. . as.. The reasons of this explicative predilection of discourse theory towards radical politics are numerous. as its way of functioning is based on the permanent negotiation of the principles of government. Italian and Dutch far‐right parties.Radicalism. And. Then. insights from social psychology and from behaviourist sociology and methods inspired from political anthropology.10 10 An example of the discursive approach of radical politics is Ernesto Laclau’s. 1997. anti‐globalization movements. Discourse theorists have been trying to apply their hypotheses in various fields of political science and politics. Populism. Interventionism. Three Approaches.. However. In the first place. The domain of politics is the first to be concerned by this discursive constraint. trough the mechanisms of representation. it invisibly and temporarily establishes the social positions and places occupied by individuals and groups. discourse theory looks for explanations that are exterior to the area of the mechanic determinations of the social world. including the study of extremist and radical politics. by combining linguistic and semantic approaches. This way. 19 analyses which allow us to identify ourselves in relation to the outer world. the resurgence of the European far‐left and far‐ right parties coincided with the emergence of the third generation of discourse – at the beginning of the 1990s. French. etc – were taken by the researchers of this third generation as case studies for their ongoing theoretical works.
Here.20 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. He is the co‐founder of an NGO that fights ‘against the enslavement of 11 Jacob Torfing. “Discourse Theory: Achievements. and Challenges” in David Howarth. For each of these points.F. The first point is that social practices take place in an environment dominated by specific discourses that have themselves their own historical background. 1. but who was banished from the leadership of the new regime in the first months of 1990. gathering the various representations of reality in a coherent ensemble. pp. Moreover. Palgrave: Macmillan. Jacob Torfing (ed. the case of L. is probably an appropriate example. is a researcher from Timisoara who participated to the upsurges that resulted into the violent regime change of December 1989. Policy and Governance. What it is said today bears the burden of what was said yesterday and determines what will be said tomorrow.).F. according to whom the approach of discourse theory may be synthesized in five key‐points. Arguments. in order to assess the degree of pertinence of the discursive approach in evaluating the phenomenon of contestation in Romania. An Inquiry… Discourse Theory and L’Europe rebelle To summarize. 14‐17. it is convenient to use the idea of Jacob Torfing11. The evolution from one dominant discourse to another takes place through the liberation of signifiers. I will offer relevant examples extracted from the empirical studies conducted under our research project. the identification of the discursive environment in which the subject formation took place was one of the essential concerns of the team. In this context. In the next pages. as they become free. In the case of our research project. we were interested in finding the free signifiers that have allowed the constitution or the reconstitution of the nodal points capable to support the emergence of a new discursive framework for social action. Briefly. . I will try to investigate the way in which these five key‐points have been used both as research hypotheses and as analytical tools within the framework of the project L’Europe rebelle. Discourse Theory in European Politics. but bearing the legacy of their prior meaning and configurations. 2005. Identity. some of the free signifiers become nodal points. L. these signifiers are to be chained in a series of new logical continuums.
When. studying the initial discursive environment in which he was educated contributed to the understanding of the fact that his attitude towards the social world has been the consequence of his family legacy (both his father and his grand‐father were fascists).Radicalism. The conjunction of these two types of explanation (discursive and mechanic) seems to be more appropriate for approaching the case of L.F. 2.’s actions only if one can assess to what extent the freeing of certain signifiers was the cause of this character’s antisocial reaction and not the actual events (such as the divorce. in August 2007.12 He spends his energy in co‐financing TV shows. L. conscious and isolated battlefields. in organizing reunions and in printing books. captured step‐by‐step these empty signifiers. the chaos of transition was producing a whole vacuum of values and models.F. Rather they are the results of an everlasting series of sequential and chaotic efforts. In his case.. The central idea of this first argument of discourse theory – the existence of a discursive burden in the present but also of an equally heavy burden of the past – proved to be useful in determining the reasons of L. progressively replaced various elements of this legacy in the core of his convictions.F. 12 I conducted the interview with L. ‘national cause’ or ‘moral revolution’ – proliferated in a society that seemed to have turned once and forever the page of communism without having been able to build its own system of values.F. Some free signifiers – such as ‘divine justice’. The result was the gradual emergence of a half‐paranoid character. or the banishment from public life).F. 21 Romania and of the whole world by the forces of Evil. L. after 1989. Interventionism. the Franc‐Masons and the Jews’. The second point of discourse theory holds that discourse is constituted via hegemonic struggles for imposing a political leadership and for articulating the meaning and the identities. Populism. dominated by the will to establish an ideal order through a crusade that he would lead as one of the archangels. in Timisoara. the extraterrestrials and their allies. meaning a society where the political system was totally corrupted and ‘infiltrated by the twilight forces’. . Three Approaches. leaflets and some sporadic journals.. Hegemonic combats are far from taking place in neutral. correlated them with significant excerpts of the fascist familial legacy and denounced a hypocritically religious society. the failure of his inventor brevets.
D. a painter from Bucharest and a cofounder of an informal NGO that activates for ‘the development of the Lesbian identity’. And the second was that it gathered in a compact ideological ensemble nodal points that 13 14 Interview taken in February 2008. we use the ideological totalisation.22 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. Gay‐Lesbian‐Bi‐Trans. Nevertheless. claims to have a ‘full Lesbian identity’ and participates to the actions of ‘combat against disinformation by the establishment’. Within the frame of L’Europe rebelle research project. Lesbian radicalism presented at least two majors advantages. Radical Orthodoxy lost when M. the hegemonic struggles took place between Ultra‐Orthodoxy.D. Anarchism and radical Lesbianism.. she is against Feminism and against the GLBT14 movements that she considers ‘soft and responsible for an altered image of the human essence’.D. Discourse theory posits that the articulations that succeed in offering a believable reading key for the interpretation of major events become hegemonic. she chose the latter. it is appropriate to study the case of M. To illustrate this idea. above all. a process through which discourse is structured in several nodal points. as its integrative discourse ‘suited [her] very well’. In the case of M.D.. The ideological totalisation showed itself through the progressive constitution of the world of the rebel. namely sexual orientation. She left her family and broke with all her former friends for living with her ‘girlfriends’ in a marginal neighbourhood in Bucharest. An Inquiry… The success of these efforts depends of the individuals’ propensity to opt for those identity yardsticks that are sufficiently strong to maintain and reinforce some articulations of meaning and. She acts against ‘the marginalisation and the submission of women’ and preaches a world where ‘men become dispensable’. Between Anarchism and radical Lesbianism. For creating and maintaining such articulations. and the others. The first was that it concentrated on a component that made the difference between M.D. this idea was applied in analysing rebellious activism as an endless search for an articulation capable to fix the social world in a unique and final discourse. in Cluj. ‘just’ and ‘fair’ and contrasted in this way with the real world. a world that is generally ‘good’. became aware that there was a ‘tremendous gap between theory and practice’ within this religion. the temporarily dominant articulation. .13 M.
it is probable that her status of a sexual minority member in a homophobic society left her little room for selecting the main criteria for joining a radical movement. Thirdly. the invention of the Other) supposes by itself the identification of a non‐Us which. Three Approaches. according to her own capacities. as it offers an alternative to our identity. In brief. in the context of social and political competition. In order to give a sense to our own identity. 3. one may ask himself if there has really been a combat between discourses having hegemonic claims or if rather M. His identity structures our identity but at the same time opens the way for the dismantlement of Our‐selves. translated the free signifiers partly recomposed in a discursive articulation in her own language and chose. However. within social antagonism. has not invented herself the idea of a hesitation between several currents... The determination of what is contained and what is not contained in our identity becomes in this way essential for our perspective of the world and for our manner to perceive the political. the social identification based on the sexual orientation and the struggle for ‘gendered justice’. She got in this way to the idea of the ‘Lesbian identity’. alteration (or.D. All the doctrines based on the ideological totalisation suppose the idea of the existence of the Other. the version which seemed the most adequate. in other words. as such an idea would have legitimised her final choice. But this objection would be valid only if we would assume that her sexual orientation itself has not been the result of the adoption of a certain identity‐based discourse. Thus. Populism.Radicalism.D. Interventionism. confronted. This determination becomes understandable through the imaginary construction of political . but the determinant of that very discourse. the Other is excluded and. discourse theory explains that M. as a yardstick for structuring the identity and the principles of the inner group. Moreover. discourse theory explains that hegemonic articulations of meanings and identities are based on the emergence of social antagonisms. becomes an adversary whose nature and dimensions are representable through discourse. that she constructed herself by using the nodal points which were victorious in the struggle with the other signifiers. 23 were essential for the young rebel: the denunciation of women’s marginalisation.
The identification of the Other has already been perpetrated during the Communist regime.15 He fought against the ‘coup d’Etat’ in 1989 and. First. G. does not hesitate to ‘continue the combat’ by publishing articles in Neo‐Communist newspapers. by participating to the annual commemorations of Nicolae Ceausescu’s birthday and by organising reunions with the ‘comrades’ of his neighbourhood.A. social antagonism was fed by the refreshment of a Neo‐Stalinist ideological discourse that was strong enough to overwhelm all the other possibilities to read the prior and the post‐1989 events. For L’Europe rebelle. In the case of G.. he joined the Socialist Party of the Workers. is a former apparatchik of the fourth echelon of the Communist Party in the Mehedinti county.24 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. . held his convictions all over the transitional period. the balance of power between Us and Them has been reversed. Let us see a concrete example that illustrates this third proposition of discourse theory. In 1995. published in such a way that ‘the CIA wouldn’t notice’. the reasons of the action of contestation are based on the belonging to the groups that associate the ‘non‐rebels’ with the ‘evil order’ and to its consequences. he left this party in order to join the Romanian Socialist Party. a small and radical clique dominated by former Communist cadres. G. Within this latter activity.A. when the revenge against the ‘bourgeois’ and then the permanent agitation of the danger of ‘restoration’ have provided the main object for the ideological struggle. he came with the idea to gather a ‘small brigade of comrades’ that issued in 2007 a Proclamation of the Communist State. In spite of his age (75 in 2008). by distributing leaflets. paying the bill of his attitude. The associations operated by the National‐Communist press of the time 15 Interview taken in September 2007. After 1989. in Drobeta‐Turnu‐Severin. a ‘samizdat’ manifesto. The ‘rebels’ create untranscendable frontiers between their own group and the establishment. these frontiers define the two types of identity by placing them in a context of antagonism that is perceived to be natural. this time with more passion and virulence. The discursive inscription of the ‘New Regime’ as a follower of the Other made possible the reconstitution of the political frontiers.A. An Inquiry… frontiers. which are merely or not at all trans‐passable in the case of the extremist and radical collective identities. presided by an ex‐minister of Ceausescu.
But such conservation would have had few chances to resist in the absence of a discursive totalisation operated by important segments of the radical press. Three Approaches. competition among many virtually hegemonic discursive systems is an essential trait of transition. it is obvious that the determinants of G.. The apprehension of a set of publicly vocal free signifiers and their coherent ideological totalisation give to a certain discursive system decisive chances to win over the others. namely to business.Radicalism. 25 (Capitalism‐transition‐Liberalism‐poverty‐betrayal‐corruption) redrew the imaginary links with the past and prompted the reactivation of G.’s opinions and actions. especially in the early 1990s. It was the high degree of radicalism of the discourse based on the antagonism between the passed idealised order and the present denounced one that nourished G.. Among these determinants.A. a period when a sizeable number of former Communists have regrouped around Ion Iliescu and bent to the ‘social market economy’. as the militant action was less and less effective. In his case. In the light of this idea. A discursive system dislocates when it unsuccessfully tries to bring credible explanations to the new developments that happen in the actual world. political frontiers merged with the material boundaries: the discursive linkage between the ideal Communist order and the very limit of the small neighbourhood he was living in engendered a materialisation of ‘people’s power’ projection.A. In our case. as a militant. and the latter led to the Proclamation of the Communist State. . Interventionism. Dislocation takes place under the ‘destructive’ action of the other discursive systems which aspire to hegemony by attempting to capture the signifiers freed by the formerly dominant system while agonising. The fourth assertion of discourse theory regards the dismantlement of the discursive orders. Populism.A. However. 4. the conservation of the network of former local Communist activists played a crucial role in the preservation of the old ideological line. rebellion is the result of the violent integration of a set of principles and values abandoned after the fall of the Communist discursive macro‐system. in addition to the explanations offered by discourse theory.’s socialisation are also responsible for the radicalisation of his discourse and for his decision to undertake some rather spectacular actions.
16 Since 2005. has joined an Anarchist movement and participated to the activities of two NGOs ‘animated by some sages whose names have to remain unknown’ and financed ‘from abroad’. he was first a spoiled child and then a real ‘burden’ for his family: during high school. offers a good illustration of this idea. M. Failing to explain to M. the democratic discursive system lost in his view its hegemony and was replaced by a virulent anti‐paternalist discourse having an Anarchist flavour. M. in Iasi. . ‘self‐management’ or ‘emancipation’ became more coherent if they were integrated in the radical and rebel discourse than if they were drowned in the ocean of the signifiers produced by the official discourse. ‘individualism’. But everything fell down when I realised that neither transition. the Anarchist movement of Iasi made a salient public appearance when it attempted to boycott the NATO Summit. decided to join the Anarchist movement when he realised that the entire political system was based on ‘lies meant to conceal its real totalitarian nature’. he started to drink and to take drugs and.I. as a student. Born in Iasi. It was the other way around!” In this case. An Inquiry… Thus. M. in a family of intellectuals. organised in Bucharest. based on the democratic rhetorical repertoire..I. In addition to the activity of ‘ideological dissemination’ of Bakunin’s works. I believed the promises of freedom and peace.I. The Post‐Communist hegemonic discourse. why the passage from Communism to democracy required a transitional period. discourse theory explains that the fall of a holistic and supported by a repressive apparatus discourse opened the way for a merciless war between the discursive systems that had hegemonic tendencies.I. he failed his exams and had to repeat the first year.I. “At first. such as ‘freedom’. in April 2008. nor the so‐called Europeanization were leading to an entirely free society.26 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation.I. our team was interested in studying the ways in which the fall of the dominant discursive systems was related to the integration of our subjects in the rebellious movements. M. For M. free signifiers. did not succeed to maintain the 16 Interview taken in May 2008. In his own words. took part to this event in order to fight against ‘State persecutions and police terror’.
pp. One may criticize the credit that this approach gives to the self‐ determination capacity of subjects when they choose their preferred discursive universes. As a consequence of subject’s failure to achieve a fully integrated identity. Populism. and not the incorporation in a certain discursive universe. 1. we can imagine that M. will provide some supplementary counter‐arguments to this objection. 27 encapsulation of numerous signifiers. which promise the immediate achievement of a full identity. partly captured by the rival discourses. followed. Issue 1. has joint Anarchism to openly defy his family rather than to compensate the absence of a coherent system of values. Politics is a field where the promises concerning the realisation of a common welfare may be widely understood as a perspective for acquiring a full identity. the perpetual creation and recreation of discourses in which the excluded from the inner group are guilty for the absence of a fully integrated identity become indispensable. 5... According to Slavoj Žižek. the plot presented here‐above. the last point of discourse theory. behind his militant involvement. February 1996.I.17 It may lead to a choice in favour of some of the most radical discourses. there are perhaps the seduction of the game of contestation and the need for integration. ‘Invisible Ideology: Political Violence Between Fiction and Fantasy’ in Journal of Political Ideologies. Once again. Moreover. including the Anarchist one. This way. discourse theory holds that the dislocation of a certain discursive horizon is strongly connected with the emergence of the split subject. the failure of the final identification generates the dramatisation of the search for identity. he or she is always in a process of search for an identification that offers the illusion of the complete integration. more or less consciously. For our research project. presented here‐below. But as these radical discursive systems fail at their turn to accomplish this promise. . Vol. Finally. Allegedly. to understand the discursive mechanisms through which the rebels joined the groups that promised the reconstitution of their identities and to depict the processes of responsibility 17 See Slavoj Žižek. M. it was useful to determine the lacking identity or the lacking identities of the subjects.I. Three Approaches. by discarding the official discourse and by adhering to radical Anarchism. Interventionism. they feed the dislocation of responsibility: the Others are always responsible for the failure of a full identity’s achievement. However. 16‐18.Radicalism.
found himself thrown in the middle of religious and political quarrels. the act of rebellious integration was by itself a form of guiltiness’ deviation. In the most of the cases. governed by a diarchy composed of a lay President and of the Orthodox Patriarch. Since 1993. when the issues of the restitutions that the Orthodox Church had to make to the Greek‐Catholic one openly emerged. . As a result of the frequent scandals that took place in his parish council especially during the periods when he was temporarily unemployed. in a time when the Greek‐Catholic church was dissolved by the Communist regime. The two identities of his family – the Catholic and the Orthodox – have peacefully cohabited under the Communism.P. It was precisely what happened in the case of D. the arguments that were favorable to the Catholics. he has paid a lot of attention to the inter‐religious debates and collected. started to distance himself from the Greek‐Catholic circles.28 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. 18 Born in 1965. Since then. in Oradea. as the search for a remedy for the particular situation of each subject passed through the identification with a group that was more capable to find convenient scapegoats. and his comrades acted against the election of the new Patriarch of the Orthodox Church: his association has openly criticized the main three candidates. 18 Interview taken in July 2008. this association has militated for the instauration of a ‘National Orthodox State’. ‘the infiltration of spies’. he has remained a simple militant of this group. the main objective of this association is ‘to return to the traditions and to purge the Church of the Communists and of the Secret Service agents’. in his own words.P.P. Since 2003. But he had a hard time to get accepted by the traditional Greek‐Catholic communities in Oradea. The young technician. he started to frequent a radical orthodox association and reconverted to his native religion in 1998. In 2008. in a formerly Greek‐Catholic family in Oradea. but did not propose an alternative to them. He ended up by converting to Greco‐Catholicism and by actively fighting what he called the ‘Orthodox Church‐Party‐State’. he was the first to be baptised in the Orthodox religion. An Inquiry… dislocation and the objects of these processes. who has been three times unsuccessful in his efforts to be admitted at the Polytechnic University in Cluj. D. but have violently clashed after 1989. Moreover. at the beginning. the Others. who feared. D.
. However. 29 D. Interventionism. For the moment. the fault for the ensemble of his failures always comes to the Others. Three Approaches. Discourse theory seems to be capable to explain the social and political behaviour of this character.Radicalism. recovered his Orthodox identity and blamed his ‘Catholic heresy’ for its situation in which he found himself. he identified himself with a faction that started to attack the high Orthodox hierarchy.. the restitution of the pre‐ 1945 realities. one may argue that the social and the discursive are themselves co‐ substantial… Conclusions If the research question posed at the beginning of this article was if discourse theory brought a certain contribution to the understanding of the phenomenon of contestation. There is no doubt that discourse theory provides a remarkable analytic tool and that it offers a valuable alternative to the monist traditional approaches. .. firstly tried to identify himself with a religious. Populism.P.P.’s hesitations with respect to his confession and the ultra‐radical manner in which he joined a marginalised Orthodox sect are consonant with the psychoanalytical theory of the split subject. the inclusion of this thesis within the ensemble of discourse theory remains problematic. D.P. As a final example. But. moral and political discourse that preached. the answer could not be negative. provided that the thesis of the split subject (which rather comes from social psychology) is fully integrated in its theoretical framework. For D. Traumatised by his professional failures and by the inter‐religious conflict that destroyed his family. because the search for the completed identity does not necessarily take place in the interior of a certain discursive universe and rather depends of a series of factors that is endogenous to the immediate social relations. he took the care to build a protective fence against Them. Within the radical Orthodox movement. in a nutshell. D.P. However. the failure of his last marriage attempt was due to the manner in which his former would‐be wife has been indoctrinated by the ‘Papists and the Ortho‐ Papists’. Consequently. as he has not been accepted by a Greek‐Catholic community whose collective habits and personal requirements were too hard to cope with.
a marginal phenomenon. if we take into consideration the fact that discourse theory is far from claiming that it is by itself alone capable to approach general political phenomena. the multiplication of the European networks which contest the establishment has provided a supplementary impetus to the similar organisations of the former Communist countries. this negative answer could be challenged. In fact. It is precisely its conclusion on the disappearance of a regulatory centre of the social sphere that opens the way to the negotiations between several readings of the world which require the corroboration of data and interpretations proposed by all the social sciences. An overarching argument in this sense would be that. . Moreover. as opposed to the contestation phenomena in the other two countries held for this research – France and Poland – the rebellious action of the Romanians is far more individualised and thus less susceptible to be schematised within some clear political patterns and profiles. allowed for a certain relaxation of censorship and self‐censorship over the voices that opposed the actual political system and its principles. discourse theory could bring its contribution to the analysis of the mechanisms that allowed the naturalisation of the anti‐ system action at the level of the European public spaces. The research project L’Europe rebelle could contribute to the complex results that are obtained in these types of scientific laboratories. the end of the post‐ transitional period. the response to this second question would rather be negative. However. But this contribution should not ignore the motivations of the basic militants’ direct actions and the fact that this demarche requires some interdisciplinary approaches. An Inquiry… on a more accurate level.30 Discourse Theory and Political Contestation. marked by Romania’s accession to the European Union. Nevertheless. discourse theory takes the discursive paradigm as a framework that gives the possibility to integrate open and multidisciplinary explanations. in the case of Romania. In this context. The contestation of the democratic order remains. is discourse theory sufficient to analyse the reasons of the political involvement and of the militant actions of those common individuals who chose to join some Romanian rebel movements? At a first glance.
One way of doing this is through discourse because as Nietzsche. An analysis of the Political Discourse of Front National and Lijst Pim Fortuyn Oana‐Raluca Crăciun Machiavelli. the political elites use it in order to gather support from the public opinion. 3 Bent Flyvbjerg. Quentin Skinner and Russell Price (eds. Moreover.). Bernard Crick . 1988. Derrida and many others have indicated. The New Populism. 2000. 1990. The Prince.1 provided us with a comprehensive understanding of power and authority. School of Economics and Political Science. which has its roots with Plato via Kant and which considers that consensus seeking and freedom from domination4 should guide our communicative process. 2 Niccolò Machiavelli. in The Discources. 4 Jürgen Habermas. one of the most influential political theorists. Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action.2 Since power is central to political rationality.5 which provides a rational basis for the organization of society. These two concepts co‐exist because whoever has power has the right to rule. whom Bernard Crick and others have called the most worthy humanist and distinctly modern. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. The only form of power which Habermas considers legitimate in the ideal speech situation and communicative rationality is the force of better argument. “Preface” and “Introduction” to Niccolò Machiavelli. in The Challenges for Democracy in the 21st Century. 1 . 1983. p. as opposed to Habermasian conception. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 198. 5 Jürgen Habermas. Foucault. communication is at all times already penetrated by power3. Real Rationality: Habermas versus Foucault and Nietzsche”. Harmondsworth: Penguin. 5. 12. this view recognizes conflict as being something natural. or decision‐making. activity. 1987. 17. 295. “Ideal Theory. p. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Instead. and the way they define these depends on how choices are presented to them and by whom. preferences. Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis.32 The New Populism. this study seeks to examine the nexus between the manner in which the identity of the parties National Front and Pim Fortuyn List was shaped and their discourse ascertaining and reproducing ethnic and religious dominance. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. In other words. needs. discourse can be viewed as having the power to mobilize symbolic resources providing collective forms of identification. discourse should be regarded as a catalyst for collective action. London: Sage. in Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer (eds. Norton. in accordance with their interests. and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context. London: Verso. Despite the fact that FN and LPF engaged in politics in two different moments. p.6 According to this framework. an analysis of discourse that acknowledges the struggle over ideas as the essence of politics and decision‐making should be implied.9 In other words. 325. both parties reached their peak in 2002. in Francisco Panizza (ed.8 This chapter examines the growth of new radical populist parties in France and in the Netherlands and the manifestation of ethnic and religious dominance in their anti‐immigrant. p. The examination of the connection between these two theories facilitates the understanding of the electoral success of FN and LPF. as an element that holds together a particular community while it discredits and rejects another community. and inequality are enacted. the world is experienced by people in different ways. 6 . reproduced. An analysis of the Political Discourse… As history has demonstrated. dominance. 2001. 7 Idem. p.W.). 2002. This contribution attempts to establish a link between the theory developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe ‐ that explains the process of identity formation through discourse ‐ and Critical Discourse Analysis ‐ that studies the way social power abuse. New York: W. 10. For instance. The investigation is carried out from a multidisciplinary and comparative discourse analytical approach.). Le Pen qualified for the Deborah Stone. “The “End of Politics” and the Challenge of Right‐wing Populism”. “Multidisciplinary CDA: a plea for diversity”. 80. Habermas’ ideal theory and discourse ethics are not viable in a world where rationality is many times overlooked and replaced by rationalization in the struggle for domination. anti‐Muslim discourse. Populism and the mirror of democracy. positions. 9 Teun Adrianus van Dijk. 2005.7 Moreover. 8 Chantal Mouffe.
I will briefly introduce the Theory of Hegemony developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe and I will emphasize the process in which the populist identity is created by subsuming the other heterogeneous identities. 2004. 12 Ian Parker and John Shotter. p. I will draw the main conclusions concerning the discursive strategy employed by these two parties to antagonize the French and the Dutch towards immigrants and Muslims and to win votes.11 to which Parker added a purpose of constructing an object. I will firstly clarify the notion of discourse. Conceptualizing discourse Until now. becoming the second largest party. Repere în analiza discursului politic. 6‐7. Here. in ECS806 Sociocultural aspects of language and education.10 In the forth section. “Linguistic processes in sociocultural practice”. I will also try to show that their electoral growth owes to the radical rhetoric adopted in disputing the ability of their political opponents to govern. 1985. and LPF won 26 (17%) out of 150 seats in the lower house of parliament. Interventionism. Kress described discourses as being systematically organised sets of statements.. In the end. 171. I will explain a number of discourse devices that will be used to explore the connection between the use of language and unequal power relations. Populism. Before discussing the actual political phenomena. 191. some of the conceptualizations around this idea are illustrated in the attempt to underline the features they have in common. after he had defeated Lionel Jospin. 1990. Victoria: Deakin University. 10 11 . Gunther Kress. Three Approaches. Secondly. p. 33 second round of voting.. Then. What does discourse refer to? Many authors have tried to grasp the nature of discourse and to encode it in a definition in order to serve their theoretical purposes. pp. Cluj‐Napoca: Efes. Deconstructing social psychology. London: Routledge. within the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis. the notion of discourse has been mentioned in different stances but without being offered any comprehensive explanation.Radicalism. I will empirically test the viability of the theory of Laclau and Mouffe by showing the manner in which FN and LPF acquired radical populist identity. Therefore.12 Hollway. at their expense. by stipulating the concept of meaning ‐ a particular network of Delia Marga.
1992. p. 1993.18 Last but not least. 14 Bronwyn Davies and Rom Harre. 16 Norman Fairclough. in Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. p. London: Routledge. Margaret Wetherell. prime minister and member of parliament. 7. no.14 The emphasis on rhetoric and semantic strategies ‐ discernible clusters of terms. no. and power relations. Discourse and Social Change. 3(2). “Positioning: the discursive production of selves”. 1(50). 13 . in GIGA Research Programme: Transformation in the Process of Globalisation. 20(1). president. London: Sage.). Subjectivity and method in psychology: gender. London: Sage. stated that discourse is a multi‐faceted public process through which meanings are progressively and dynamically achieved.15 The next conceptualizations are meant to penetrate the societal and political realm. Deconstructing developmental psychology. 1989. 27. London: Routledge. “Identity. 3. Feminism and discourse: psychological perspectives. Ros Gill and Derek Edwards. Davies et al. Up against Foucault: explorations of some tensions between Foucault and feminism. 38. Ramazanoglu adds a very important aspect regarding the endless and ongoing process of shifting the rules through discourse ‐ historically variable ways of specifying knowledge and truth.17 The regulatory fashion of discourse is stressed in the Burman’s definition ‐ socially organised frameworks of meaning that define categories and specify domains of what can be said and done. 1995. 20 Dirk Nabers. “Discourse: noun. p.16 whereas Widdicombe considers discourses as products and reflections of social. 47.13 Also in relation to meaning. no.19 An interesting example in this regard is given by Dirk Nabers who says that materializations like street. This means that whenever there is an alteration in discourse those materializations not only lose their prior meaning but their identity changes also. p. “Crises. 2007. Cambridge: Polity Press. house. economic and political factors. 107. Fairclough sees it as a form of social practice. in Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger (eds. 1990. 19 Caroline Ramazanoglu. their heterogeneity and their effects ‐ attached the substance that was missing from the previous definitions of discourse. p. 17 Sue Widdicombe. car. 212. p. 2. politics and talk: a case for the mundane and the everyday”. 1990. An analysis of the Political Discourse… meanings. are consequences of past speech and/or preceding discourses.34 The New Populism. rather than a purely individual activity or a reflex of situational variables. meaning and science. descriptions. common‐places and figures of speech often clustered around metaphors or vivid images and often using distinct grammatical constructions and styles ‐ is provided by Potter et al. 18 Erica Burman. p.20 Wendy Hollway. but also. verb or social practice?” in Philosophical Psychology. hegemony and change in the international system: A conceptual framework”. 15 Jonathan Potter. 1994. p.
22.22 The understanding of discourse in general is helpful when analysing political discourses because they preserve the main characteristics discussed above. Catriona Macleod. p. rhetoric. This need for persuasion can be attributed to the impossibility to explain the choice for a policy decision using scientific methods. political decisions are not the reflection of the inherent and universal truth derived from the world of facts and postulated by positivists. 9‐14. oriented towards persuasion. They are rather the result of the struggle to create meaning throughout the policy process in which political elites attempt to convince others to share the meaning they attribute to particular events. 2002. the dispersion of meaning is possible through power. 32(1). The addressee is not always the opponent and this is available especially in the case of political discourse where the recipient is the public. Since the scientific methods are left in subsidiary. it consists in a coherent system of statements produced on a regular basis with the purpose of constructing effects. 38. Repere în analiza discursului politic. 35 Relying on these definitions. there can be identified four aspects which are commonly encountered when the notion of discourse is explained. Firstly.Radicalism. 23 Delia Marga. Populism. 1972. because as it will be later seen. the conflict is more vivid in political discourses. Three Approaches. Thirdly. what matters is the power of better arguments. Therefore. who is the opponent.23 The latter refers to the discourse of a party in conflict directed to the other party. and who can respond in turn with another conflicting discourse. in South African Journal of Psychology. p. political discourses are predominantly argumentative. The archaeology of knowledge. London: Tavistock Publications.. “Deconstructive discourse analysis: extending the methodological conversation”. the meaning is less evident and it has to be read into those statements. the link between statements and effects is provided by meaning which is conveyed in a manner that serves a certain purpose. However. Secondly. but not from the Habermas’ point of view. The object is the Other whose discourse must be ilegitimized and rejected.. In Michel Foucault. 21 22 . Much of the time. Finally. interests and power distort the ideal communication. Interventionism. That is why they are usually labelled as a specific form of conflicting discourses. it is a social practice that tailors the medium that generates it.21 and it also encapsulates a temporal aspect because discourses are progressively and dynamically achieved over time and within particular contexts of power relations. pp. Furthermore.
For these authors. An analysis of the Political Discourse… short. the most representative authors of the third generation Discourse Theory. They argue that ontologically. 2006. the world exists independently of the observers’ mind but we get to know it under certain descriptions which bear a certain meaning. it entails justification. the social reality is discursive.25 Political actors use rhetoric also when they want to secure the adherence of the audience by appealing to emotions and authority. 25 Ernesto Laclau. 26 Ineke van der Valk. They strengthen a claim that is made by forcefully inviting an intended answer and thus preventing the opposite answer that is in the line with the opponent’s arguments. it follows that rhetoric is present in the argumentative process. Agents. They encapsulate the entire process in which a party acquires the populist identity through discourse. which on the one hand. Politics as Ontology. pp. 27 Colin Wight. as well as for Post‐Structuralists. 24 . “Right‐wing parliamentary discourse on immigration in France”. since the same politicians try to legitimize their decisions with respect to the public interest. 89. Evidence. p. 1989. it will be further discussed in the next sections. because political actors employ arguments to bring others around to their position and on the other hand. the argumentation performs a joint task. p. we understand rhetorical displacement as the process through which a literal term is replaced by a figurative one. implies persuasion. New Haven: Yale University Press. no. 27. 14(3). 2008. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Discourse and Society. Structures and International Relations. Argument. and Persuasion in the Policy Process.26 Rhetoric dominates the political discourses analysed in this chapter. 330.27 The access to meaning is facilitated by Giandomenico Majone. 2. Other devices used in political discourses are rhetorical questions. La raison populiste.24 Due to the fact that political reasoning is contingent rather than scientifically rigorous.36 The New Populism. and consequently. Drawing upon Cicero’s reflections. relies on two concepts: hegemony and antagonism. Paris: Seuil. 2003. p. Hegemony and antagonism The centrepiece of the writings of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe.
4. Here.28 For instance. the condition of possibility made the existence of that discourse possible but it was not the cause of it. Amsterdam: Benjamins. hegemony and change in the international system: A conceptual framework”. Dozens injured in Paris rampage [http://news. but language can be used to challenge power. October 15. 31 Ruth Wodak. “Language indexes power. the discourses of the powerful agents overcome the discourses of those less powerful and thus. This uncertainty leaves space for politico‐hegemonic Dirk Nabers. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe argue that another distinguishing feature of the social is uncertainty rather than structural determination. Handbook of Pragmatics. in 2007.). 2006. “Crises. Following the Post‐Structural line of reasoning of Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida. the former gets to impose its meaning. Ruth Wodak provides us with an explanation centred on the notion of power. the question regarding the prevalence of some meanings over others is still opened.bbc. Referring to Laclau and Mouffe’s interpretation. 2008. to subvert it.Radicalism.”31 Put differently. Power does not derive from language.uk/2/hi/europe/7114175.30 Even if the importance of meaning in creating the social reality was ascertained. 30 Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. p. Populism. whether these violent acts were constructed as gangrene and participants associated with scum (racaille) and rabble (foule) depended upon the nature of the discourse that was triggered by these events. 28 . Interventionism. p. expresses power.co. London: Verso. 1985. So. However. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. to alter distributions of power both in the short and the long term. language is a channel through which objects meaningful to us are socially constructed. the Paris suburbs riots existed as events and involved physical acts in certain definite locations in space and time. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. 37 language.stm]. p. Three Approaches.29 In other words. the social is a discursive space because nothing societal is outside the discursive... is involved where there is contention over power and where power is challenged. 107. in Jef Verschueren and Jan‐Ola Östman (eds. “Critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis”. 29 World News BBC. 6.
ethnicity. instead. and becomes what it is by virtue of its relative position in an open structure of differential relationships.36 Laclau. xi.33 This means that an identity is forced into filling the structural gaps through identification.39 The incompleteness of the subjects’ identities is linked to a political contestation over signifiers (demands) and. 32 . Luhmann. Goodin and P.). p. 34 Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. religion. 19. hegemony and change in the international system: A conceptual framework”. Hegemony. 38 Dirk Nabers.38 For instance. p. 1993. p. 95. such as gender. p. p. “Discourse”. in R. Contingency. 39 Ibidem. hegemony and change in the international system: A conceptual framework”. Understanding Foucault. as just one more particular location within a meaningful totality. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Koselleck. Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left. in Judith Butler. La raison populiste. history. p. 35 Dirk Nabers. E. 20. 2000. “Constructing Universality”. 86. in Constructing Universality. 2003. A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy. 40 Ernesto Laclau. Pettit (eds. 281–307. 33 Ibidem. Bristol: The Policy Press. 19. Laclau.38 The New Populism. and Slavoj Žižek (eds. nation or region. p. culture. An analysis of the Political Discourse… articulations [which] retroactively create the interests they claim to represent. Laclau. 52. brings into play the logic of difference and opposition by arguing that identity is constituted by its difference from an infinite number of other identities. the subject is no longer considered the source of meaning but. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 433. identity is tied to a specific content. p. at the same time. pp.34 or in other words. “Crises. 36 Ernesto Laclau.). it is a pre‐ condition for the creation of any hegemonic process.37 This implies that all principles and values governing an identity receive their meaning according to this logic. London: Verso. identification can be seen as the struggle of a subject to gain full identity.35 Consequently.40 uses the following model in order to clarify the way hegemonic articulation works: Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. “Crises. 37 Ernesto Laclau. Ernesto Laclau. the identities inside it are also incomplete and rely on the constant movement of differential relationships. inspired by Ferdinand de Saussure who claims that there are no positive terms in language but differences. Discursive Analytical Strategies.32 Since the social is undetermined.
42 Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Creation of discursive hegemony Starting from the premise that the social structure entails the existence of void spaces (gaps). Interventionism. the founder of Structural Linguistics. 113. and so on. This means that only one concept can correspond to each stream of sounds.41 D1. A response to the failure of this project comes from three directions: semiology (science of signs in society) and more specifically. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. particular signifiers (demands). The problem with the Saussurean project is the strict isomorphism between the signifier and the signified. D2.42 This discursive process is known as the creation of hegemony. the meaning is only temporarily fixed to a centre of command. The constellation The notion of signifier (stream of sounds or acoustic image) was coined by Ferdinand de Saussure. D1. from which attempts to dominate the other signifiers. all these authors argue that a signifier cannot be permanently attached to a particular signified and thus. which is the fundamental unit of linguistic analysis.. has temporarily succeeded in fixing its meaning to a nodal point. D3.Radicalism. One of the signifiers. p. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Laclau illustrates the manner in which. the signifier constitutes the sign. D4. acquire different positions within that structure. 39 D1.D4 ‐ Signifiers F ‐ Frontier T ‐ Excluded element Ө ‐ Blank space (gap) ≡ ‐ Equivalence Figure 1: Ernesto Laclau.D2. Grosso modo. Populism. the work of Roland Barthes. a centre of command. Three Approaches. implying that there cannot be any distinguishable difference between the concept and sound.. 41 . In relation to the signified (concept). the psychoanalytic current inspired by Jacques Lacan and the deconstructionist movement initiated by Jacques Derrida.D3.
As it can be seen. La raison populiste.46 The tension between equivalence and difference provides the conditions for the emergence of the social. 119. 46Ernesto Laclau. “Crises.47 Laclau defines the notion of empty signifier as an indistinct signified with no conceptual content or the plenitude constitutively absent. p. 20. hegemony and change in the international system: A conceptual framework”. 144. while the logic of antagonism accentuates difference. La raison populiste. Ibidem. The problem is whether that exterior.45 Put differently. which lies beyond the totality of differences. 48 Ibidem.44 This means that. the logic of equivalence subverts it. 45 Dirk Nabers. 88. p. 87. On the contrary. The construction of the social depends also on the emergence of an empty or a floating signifier. the community is constructed in non‐antagonistic terms within the logic of difference that can eventually lead to the formation of collective identities. pp. 89. Well.48 Empty signifiers are terms that can have different meanings and can thereby serve to unite disparate social movements. the response provided by Laclau is that the exterior constitutes indeed a difference but it is neither neutral nor allowed by the components of totality. In other words. the condition of possibility of totality presupposes the existence of the exterior. all the different identities are grouped together in chain of equivalence.40 The New Populism. the notion of particularity is identified with totality. 88. which draws the limits of the system (F). The linkage between them is the common rejection towards the excluded identity. is another difference or we deal with something more complicated than this. p. Whereas equivalence highlights the community effect of a perceived common negative or enemy. 43 44 . The hegemonic identity becomes the order of a void significant which tries to fill up the totality impossible to attain.43 However. p. An analysis of the Political Discourse… by which a certain particularity assumes the representation of a universality entirely incommensurable with it. the totality is rather a horizon. This identification is highly politicized because it creates a continuous inner tension renewed every time when a new particular signifier tries to identify with the whole. 47 Ibidem. p. it is an excluded element (T) which functions according to the logics of equivalence and antagonism. Ernesto Laclau. with regards to the excluded element. than a fundament. is what [we] call a hegemonic relation.
136. Whereas. Interventionism.50 The Right may perceive equity differently from the Left. 39. For the purpose of this work. p. Populism.49 Still. According to Deborah Stone. expressions such as freedom. Relying on the organic crisis (a term borrowed from Gramsci). For instance. the difference between them is only minimal. For instance. 49 50 . it can be said that only a floating signifier can loose its specificity while it subordinates its meaning to different political objectives. when enhancing a policy concerning the distribution of social benefits for unemployed immigrants. justice or democracy. equity or equality are floating signifiers.51 Laclau and Mouffe illustrate the way a floating signifier acquires universal meaning and by fixing its particular meaning to a nodal point. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. the function of floating signifiers is epitomized in the next example. In other words. Therefore. floating signifiers can assimilate different meanings depending on the nature or topic of the discourse. [a] conjuncture where there is a generalized weakening of the relational system defining the identities of a given social or political space.Radicalism. one side considers that it is equitable for indigents to have the means necessary to overcome unemployment while the other side believes that it is equitable to have a re‐distributive policy that gives to the unemployed the resources (money. 51 Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Three Approaches. an empty signifier takes the limits of the void for granted. whereas a left wing party would consider equitable to provide social assistance for unemployed immigrants.. they assume that the existence of unsatisfied social demands makes possible the transformation of isolated democratic demands in populist demands through a relation of equivalence. p. a centre‐right wing party would provide courses for professional re‐qualifications of unemployed immigrants. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. housing) they need to survive. equity is considered the goal which all sides try to attain in a distributive conflict. p. as equitable solution. Deborah Stone. 41 Examples of empty signifiers are order. the floating signifier allows for the possibility of dislocation of those limits. 157. On the other hand. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy.. This becomes possible only if the relation of equivalence is crystallized in a certain discursive identity which represents the link as Ibidem. as a result there is a proliferation of floating elements. Concluding. and where.
would combine the other demands (unemployment and criminality) in a chain of equivalence and. the equivalence chain was mediating between particular demands. p. which. and therefore.ac. La raison populiste. as less intensive it becomes. integrating a longer chain of unsatisfied demands. while initially. as much as a signifier enlarges the sphere of the signified. on the identification of a threatening outside and on the other hand. on the content of the signified which has to be kept vague. the immigrants. of hegemony. The preservation of the centrality of the popular demand and thus. on the other hand. [http://www. it would substitute the entire chain to that nodal point. depends. which was once part of the chain of equivalence. criminality and insecurity.uk/centres/Theostud/papers/Laclau%20‐ %20philosophical%20roots%20of%20discourse%20theory. now it became autonomous. More specifically.54 The same logic can be applied when explaining the manner in which a party acquires populist identity. those who suffer the consequences of unsatisfied demands (e.g. for instance. we say that insecurity.essex. However.53 Therefore. p. the hegemony is preserved. if we suppose that inside a social order there are several unfulfilled demands such as unemployment. 52 53 . the Dutch people) and respectively. those who are to blame for causing or not solving them (e. Combination and substitution are terms used by Ernesto Laclau in the work Philosophical roots of discourse theory. 2008. La raison populiste. a populist discourse would attempt to fix the meaning of insecurity. to which it was subordinated. the ruling coalition). the Muslims. when a particular demand (signifier) acquires popular centrality it detaches from its original concept and it assumes the identity of the equivalence chain.52 In other words. An analysis of the Political Discourse… such.42 The New Populism. This process would not have been possible if the populist discourse had not divided the social order in two antagonistic camps. Therefore. becoming hegemonic. gained popular centrality through discourse and became hegemonic. 118. 54 Ernesto Laclau. reversing the relation of dominance. this matter will be later discussed in this chapter. to a nodal point. Ernesto Laclau. on the one hand.pdf]. on the one hand.g. 106. and not the constituencies. October 15. Correspondingly. the French people.
57 Ruth Wodak. Teun van Dijk. 448. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Interventionism. Ruth Wodak. there can be identified four mainstream approaches to CDA: critical linguistics. the socio‐cultural approach.57 CDA research enterprise is not limited only to uncovering and criticizing social inequality but it actually seeks social change through critical understanding. Critical discourse analysis: Theory and interdisciplinarity. “The discourse‐historical approach”. discrimination. no. and others. CDA cannot be viewed as a holistic or closed paradigm [because its studies are] multifarious.org..60 Moreover. Three Approaches. All these frameworks provide a critical attitude regarding the effects of the ethnic domination in the modern social relations analyzing opaque as well as transparent structural relationships of dominance.). 43 Approaching “Critical Discourse Analysis” Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is a qualitative research methodology which critically analyses the relation between language. [and] derived from quite different theoretical backgrounds and oriented towards very different data and methodologies. 4(2). p. 58 Teun Adrianus van Dijk. 2008. “Introduction: Theory. Methods of critical discourse analysis.55 It emerged in the late 1980s as a programmatic development in European discourse studies led by Norman Fairclough.56 Although CDA has different modi operandi and directions. in Gilbert Weiss and Ruth Wodak (eds.hartcda. p. 59See Ruth Wodak. Populism.58 and it aims to provide guidelines for [better] human actions. “Principles of critical discourse analysis”. the discourse‐historical approach and socio‐cognitive approach. 60 Jan Blommaert and Chris Bulcaen. 2001 pp. its advocates sustain that discourse is a social phenomenon which shapes the social reality and at the same time it is socially conditioned. “Critical discourse analysis”. no.Radicalism. “Critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis”.cda. In this regard.pdf]. Meyer (eds.59 CDA has its roots in Social Theory. in Annual Review of Anthropology. [http://www. in Ruth Wodak and M. 29. 56 Gilbert Weiss and Ruth Wodak. ideology and society in both domestic and global arenas. 252.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/chapterone.). 12. 55 . 63‐94. power and control as manifested in language. 1993. 4. in Discourse and Society. 2003. Critical Discourse Analysis and Cognitive Science: Analysing Strategies and Structures in Texts on Immigration and Asylum Using Evolutionary Psychology and Cognitive Linguistics. London: Sage.. 2000. October 29. there can See Christopher Hart. p. interdisciplinarity and critical discourse analysis”. As Ruth Wodak mentioned. p.
but. apparent ignorance (We do not know. 92. 1...). When referring to the in‐group actors it is used the first person plural (e. “We demand that foreigners adapt to our lifestyle: Political discourse on immigration laws in Austria and the United Kingdom”. “On the analysis of parliamentary debates on immigration”. apparent empathy (They have difficulties. See Maria Sedlak and Ruth Wodak. I will explain some discursive categories used to express or influence beliefs about minorities and immigrants.. 217‐237. one inspired by the Foucaultdian thinking which deals with power and ideology. but the constituencies... Political actors use disclaimers in order to avoid being openly against the Muslim minority. but.. p.. us. apparent concession (They are not all bad. The typical disclaimers are apparent denial (Nothing against. but.. they. 2000. The in‐group is positive represented while the out‐group is portrayed in negative terms. their). in Combating Racial Discrimination. apparent excuse (We are sorry. Within the framework of CDA. them. They illustrate the possible contradiction between positive self‐presentation and negative Other‐ presentation. whereas.)..g. Referential strategies are employed to construct and oppose two different camps.). we. for instance. pp. 2000. Semantic moves are usually encountered in discourses about immigrants and minorities in the form of disclaimers.). but.). An analysis of the Political Discourse… be displayed two theoretical tracks. and transfer (We have no problem with them.). our). the in‐group and the out‐group. Berg: Oxford.61 2. in Martin Reisigl and Ruth Wodak (eds.. but. The semiotics of racism: Approaches in critical discourse analysis..62 The denial strategies are easy to study because they usually appear as but‐clauses.. and the other following Giddens and Habermas to an extent. reversal (blaming‐the‐victim story). the out‐group actors are referred to the third person plural (e.). 61 . The most important semantic structure manifesting a referential strategy is the pronoun. The purpose of this explanation is to highlight the role of these discursive devices in the electoral success of the parties Front National and Lijst Pim Fortuyn. attempts to overcome the structural determinism. 62 Teun Adrianus van Dijk.g.44 The New Populism. Vienna: Passagen Verlag.
64 4. the negative characteristics of the out‐group are stressed by hyperboles while the euphemisms are meant to minimize the negative aspects of the in‐group. a hyperbole is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated with the purpose to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression. “Right‐wing parliamentary discourse on immigration in France”. 45 3. containers. it plays an important role in ideological manipulation because political actors use rhetorical means such as metaphors. Dordrecht: Foris. 320.Radicalism. Topos is an argumentative device and it has the origins in the classical argumentation theory of Aristotle. Rob Grootendorst and Tjark Kruiger. 65 A metaphor is an implied comparison which uses a word that denotes one kind of object or idea to describe another. Moreover. Rhetoric. Deborah Stone.. machines. Usually. They intentionally break the accurate argumentation rules and employ fallacies that appeal to the common sense. argumentation resolves a difference of opinion by means of exploring the relative justification for competing standpoints. it means place or in the Frans H. Handbook of Argumentation Theory: A Critical Survey of Classical Backgrounds and Modern Studies. Populism. straw man fallacy. sometimes argumentation is misused by politicians.65 5. “Right‐wing parliamentary discourse on immigration in France”. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. is used in political discourses because it carries out a persuasive function. Literally. Three Approaches. as a form of argumentation. an euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant. 1987. p. 64 Ineke van der Valk. 328. van Eemeren. pp. fallacies are employed to de‐legitimate the opponents by oversimplifying and exaggerating their intentions and actions. Argumentation is frequently used in political discourses because it helps politicians to persuade the public and to gain adherence and votes. The most frequent metaphors used in politics are living organisms. natural disasters and wars. euphemisms.. p. For further explanations. Interventionism. see Ineke van der Valk. diseases. hyperboles. On the other hand. slippery slope fallacy. by appealing to pity and by launching personal attacks. 218. argumentum ad misericordiam. rhetorical questions to manipulate the meaning of the social representation of in‐group and out‐group. Examples of fallacies are: argumentum ad hominem. p. 100. 63 . 148.63 However.
Lieux Communs. 139‐ 145. topoi. stéréotypes.67 All in all. Deborah Stone speaks about narrative stories which she describes as widely shared. 66 . In this sense. populism does not belong to a type of movement with a particular social base and a certain ideological orientation. p. 6. “Right‐wing parliamentary discourse on immigration in France”. The emergence of FN and LPF as Radical Populist parties Ernesto Laclau defines populism taking into account its form rather than its content. in Christian Plantin (ed.68 For instance. 319. In spite of these problems.). often unspoken explanations. See also pp. Paris: Editions Kimé. 68 Deborah Stone. Instead of using the concept of topos. she illustrates the story of decline that implies a continuous decadence of the out‐group in the eyes of the in‐group that results in the rejection of out‐group’s physical presence. The conspiracy story is an alternative of the helplessness and control story and it reveals the “harm” which is deliberatively caused by the out‐ group. describes topoi as general principles that support an argument without themselves constituting the argument itself. 137. p. 67 Ineke van der Valk. By using these stories.46 The New Populism. An analysis of the Political Discourse… words of Erasmus. “Les diverses acceptions de lieu et lieu commun à la Renaissance”. the populist elites want to pinpoint the fact that they are not only able to cut the harm but also to punish the culprits. it behaves according to a political logic that explains the process of social change according to the logic of equivalence and difference and to the Francis Goyet. clichés. p.66 Van der Valk. and so much taken for granted that we are not even aware of them. 1993. seat of arguments. “there is hope” and this is in the power of the radical populist elites. topoi are socially shared beliefs linked to traditions or authoritative sources such as religious texts used as argumentative tools by politicians because they have increased persuasion powers. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. referring to Anscombre. Another story is that of helplessness and control which acknowledges the existence of a bad situation and the impossibility of the ruling elites to deal with it. 415.
69 The weakness of this frame of reference is that it gathers under its umbrella different and often contradictory ideological positions. In line with this explanation. I argue that FN and LPF are radical populist parties because they embraced in their political discourse diverse political beliefs that were unified by their opposition to Muslim and immigrant community.).Radicalism. in Jens Rydgren (ed. Bearing a fascist identity One of the multiple identities subsumed to the populist identity of FN is the fascist identity. “Populist parties of the right”. Meindert Fennema. According to Sternhell. According to this definition. Interventionism. At the same time.. p. Populism. each ideological orientation of a party is one of its multiple identities which are subsumed to the hegemonic identity once they become equivalent in their rejection towards the excluded community. FN can be considered a fascist party. its main point of inspiration was the doctrine of the Croix de Feu ligue (Cross of Fire league). but to ideology.. Dartmouth: Nova Scotia Publishers. which implies that the extreme‐right parties have to show the ideological characteristics of the pre‐war fascist movements in order to be labelled as such. the weakness is also the strength because it offers a reasonable explanation concerning the impossibility to label the new radical parties. However. La raison populiste. This party was animated by fascist movements commonly known in the interwar period such as Ligues d’extrême droite (Far right leagues) and Benito Mussolini’s fascist party. 47 construction of a common enemy. which employed two distinct visions of France: la France profonde (the real France) and la 69 70 Ernesto Laclau. 141. according to the classic left‐right division. the term extreme‐right does not refer to political practices as particular types of mass movements.70 In this definition. However. a fascist party is an extreme‐right party identified in a specific period and organized around Führerprinzip (strong leadership). as FN and LPF. Three Approaches. 2004. . p. Movements of exclusion: Radical right‐wing populism. 6.
321. October 27. the individual was in fact subordinated to the ruling elites. there are authors who argue that the history of fascist parties could be traced back to leftist movements. 1972‐ 2002. respect for others. the sense of family [. In its political statements FN preached the negative consequences of the material interests of private multinational companies and of the open market policies undertaken by the French state. 72 Meindert Fennema.72 This duality is epitomized in the statement of the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley: If you love your country you are national. 2005. 66. l’honnêteté..). le sens de la famille […]. l’amour de la terre et du travail. p. two vague principles which were easily manipulated by Le Pen in his discourses. The foundation of this explanation lays on the anti‐materialist creed of fascists members. [http://www. love of the land and labour. Le Front National et ses répercussions sur l’échiquier politique français.73 Despite the fact that fascist claimed to subordinate the individual to the people and implicitly to the nation. p. The anti‐materialism is also a trait of FN. 1976. However. Berkley: University of California Press. The anti‐materialism of FN is also systematized in the five core values: “[…] l’amour de la patrie.”74 […] patriotism. Fascism: A Reader’s Guide. and if you love your people you are socialist. Fascists blamed the liberalist doctrine for encouraging the creation of a materialist society in the detriment of the national solidarity.. “Fascist Ideology”. Cluj‐Napoca: Efes. 2008. The fascist doctrine could be rather considered ambivalent because it proclaims the power of synthesis between nationalism and socialism. honesty.com/doc_interventions_detail. An analysis of the Political Discourse… France d’en haut (the imaginary France).php?id_inter=66]. in Walter Laqueur (ed. le respect d’autrui. p.71 On the other hand.frontnational. they were neither pro‐Marxist because they saw the fragmentation of society into classes as an element that inevitably leads to the destruction of the nation. 71 .48 The New Populism. 73 Zeev Sternhell. “Populist parties of the right”. 9. and it directed its critique towards those who obtained unfair gains from corruption and other practices damaging for society.] Sergiu Mişcoiu. 74 See Discours de Jean‐Marie LE PEN à Lyon.
is the expression of the political contract between the people and the sovereign. “Populist parties of the right”. 75 . In consequence. The dispute ended with the victory of Le Pen who proved for the second time his unshaken position inside the party. The internal organization of a fascist party is characterized by rigidity and the leader disregards the democratic principles of decision making. Ethnic nationalism is the expression of the nation which has a soul and is entitled with a common destiny. a contract which can be The conflict arose due to the different visions regarding the strategy of the party for the European Parliament elections in 1999. 76 Meindert Fennema. the concept of strong leadership. in this case. p. in 1999. 49 After clarifying the ideological positioning of fascist parties.75 According to Fennema. The figure of Le Pen and the way he rules the party prove. 7. the political axiom of fascism implies that people are naturally different and thus. the right to question the decisions taken at the top is suppressed. Besides the biological differences which set people apart. as it will be seen when the issue of racialism is discussed. Therefore. Mégret pleaded for the reformation of the party. His demand was repelled and Le Pen managed to keep the name of the party.77 It is different from the civic nationalism because the nation. The powerful leader demands total commitment of the other members and their active involvement. Interventionism. the theme of ethnic nationalism was frequently undertaken in the fascist discourse. p. he fought for the legal right to use the name Front National. Three Approaches. The scandal between Le Pen and Bruno Mégret brought to the surface the interdiction to question the political strategy of the party established by its leader. fascism also postulates the natural differences between nations. once again.. which meant the abandonment of the old extremist orientations in favor of a traditional Right political discourse which could ensure the possibility for new alliances.Radicalism. they have different social positions. being rather a characteristic of the radical right in general. I will turn back to the other important aspect of the definition issued by Sternhell. 8.76 The social inequality as a result of naturally born differences is not restricted to fascist ideology only. In fact.. the fascist heritage of FN. Despite the fact that Mégret named his faction Mouvement National Républicain (National Republican Movement). Populism. 77 Ibidem.
78 . Therefore. the ethnic nationalism alternates with the political nationalism and. In the discourse of FN. 2008.79 This message suggests that the belongingness to the French nation has to be based on lineage and on the inborn right of membership. under the reform of the law of nationality (réforme du droit de la nationalité). L’acquisition dépendrait alors de critères reposant sur la bonne conduite et le degré d’intégration. However. en supprimant notamment la binationalité et l’acquisition automatique de la nationalité (celle‐ci ne serait alors automatique que si l’on est de père ou de mère français). one may be stressed more than the other.50 The New Populism. April 2007. p. The party included in its previous electoral programme.iht.78 This quotation clearly indicates the perceived superiority of the French nation that has the duty to pass its language to other foreign populations.php]. The ethnic nationalism is emphasized in the frontist discourse when Le Pen refers to the universal character of the French language which must be preserved: protéger la langue française en France et assurer son expansion à l’étranger (protect the French language in France and ensure its foreign expansion). 79 Elaine Sciolino. “Lancer une réforme du droit de la nationalité.”80 Launch a reform of the law of nationality suppressing the double nationality and the automatic acquisition of citizenship (which would not be automatic unless there is a French father or mother). depending on the context. 80 See FDA Le magazine de Jean‐Marie Le Pen. Le Front National et ses répercussions sur l’échiquier politique français. March 14. those who do not belong to the ethnic community should be excluded. The Sergiu Mişcoiu. Le Pen submits just enough signatures. 1972‐ 2002. Paperback. the conditions that would have been sufficient in order to obtain the French nationality. 59. FN does not exclude the right to acquire the French nationality through naturalization. An analysis of the Political Discourse… denounced if the people feel that they are not adequately represented by the sovereign.com/articles/2007/03/14/news/france. [http://www. Les 5 grand chantiers du quinquennat Le Pen. 2007. The civic nationalism takes the shape of ethnic nationalism under the slogan la France pour les Français (France for the French). October 29.
are intelligible and they are touching upon a sensible issue concerning the voters’ actual existence as French. For instance. Still. Furthermore. the strict criterion of belongingness to the ethnic community. à approuver le . Interventionism.. Concluding. we may assert that the fascist’s ethnic nationalism does not fold into the idea of ethnicity as labelled by FN. the party chooses to deliver messages with an ethnic nationalist connotation to voters because they have a precise target (against immigrants). good conduct can be interpreted subjectively and can be used as a benchmark either for rewards or for punishments. their preference for more direct mechanisms of democracy: “[…] nous engagerons par voie référendaire les grandes réformes indispensables au renouveau national et au printemps de la France […]. It even claimed to be more democratic than the political establishment by mentioning. Since fascism postulates the nation based only on ius sanguinis. the party did not reject the democratic means of governance. They were intentionally picked up because they can have different interpretations depending upon the intentions of the speaker. For instance.Radicalism. These are good conduct and degree of integration. On the other hand. FN conceives the membership to a nation based on ius soli too. Consequently. put forward by the fascist doctrine. the degree of integration is hard to measure even though strict indicators are employed. Three Approaches.[…] les Français seront invités par référendum.. Knowing language and being aware of the history of France does not make someone French. the fascist identity is not the only identity of FN because the party’s political discourse integrated other elements inconsistent with the fascist doctrine. is replaced in the frontist discourse by two vague standards which have to be met in order to become a French national. Taking into account the previous examples. we may say that FN does have a fascist identity because it borrows a number of themes from the fascist discourse and it undertakes several fascist principles. 51 acquisition would depend then on the criteria based on good conduct and on the degree of integration. Populism. quite often.
cultures. An analysis of the Political Discourse… projet de loi autorisant le gouvernement à prendre toutes les mesures visant à arrêter.pdf]. p.. 313.. Paperback. the change was not radical because the new type of racism is using biological arguments for explaining the cultural incompatibility.]. See Le programme de gouvernement de Jean‐Marie Le Pen (2007) [http://www.83 Therefore.[…] the French will be invited by referendum. October 30. puis à inverser les flux migratoires[. “Right‐wing parliamentary discourse on immigration in France”. the biological racism has been replaced by cultural racism. Van der Valk. Since the fifties.]. However. April 2007.82 Racism was reproduced in the discourse of these parties through the representation of a distorted image of the entire group of immigrants. multifaceted system of domination and exclusion that produces social inequality between different ethnic groups.52 The New Populism. political. especially those of Muslim origin. defines racism as a complex. The manifestation of racism is influenced by the changes in the economic. or religions are represented as homogeneous and rigid entities. They were stigmatized and portrayed as a threat to the wellbeing of the French and Dutch people. Assuming a racist identity The racist dimension of LPF and FN is identified under their opposition towards immigration and immigrants. “Populist parties of the right”. incapable to change because of the inbred characteristics.. 83 Meindert Fennema. the Racialist Theory has been experiencing a shift in the core principles. departing from the theoretical considerations based on bio‐genetic race superiority towards the incompatibility based on cultural characteristics. Les 5 grand chantiers du quinquennat Le Pen. nations.fr/pdf/Programmejmlp2007. referring to Moscovici.. and socio‐cultural conditions. 82 Ineke van der Valk.lepen2007. to approve the bill authorizing the government to take all measures to stop and then to reverse immigration [. In other words. 81 . 13.”81 […] we will begin by referendum the major reforms essential to the national renewal and spring of France […]. 2008 and FDA Le magazine de Jean‐Marie Le Pen. p.
) Nederlands Racisme [Dutch Racism]. values. Amsterdam: Van Gennep. This logic is adopted by Le Pen when he makes multiple references to the threat that Islam is posing to the in‐group (the French). as the incarnation of the power of religious elites who hamper the political life by imposing their own religious law and the dominance over the women. Three Approaches. 1984.. The out‐group is represented as culturally deviant and threatening and their mere existence is considered to infringe upon the very essence of the in‐group cultural inheritance. elle les associe et 84 85 Martin Barker. The New Racism.84 Barker introduces also the principle of otherness as explanation used to legitimate the racist practices: “It is part of our biology and our instincts to defend our way of life. bien au contraire. ethnicity. C’est une théocratie qui est à la fois religion. traditions. 1981. The Islamic state. London: Junction Books. in Anet Bleich and Peter Schumacher (eds.. état et système de gouvernement: “La religion islamique ne fait pas de distinction entre le pouvoir temporel et le pouvoir religieux . The positive self‐presentation of the French is further contrasted with the negative Other‐presentation of Islam when the frontist leader mentions the superiority of the Western civilization and Christianity to which France is part of. us and our. or religion. 53 In line with this reasoning.Radicalism. 23. ‘Het nieuwe racisme [The New Racism]’. and identity. p. is considered in antithesis with the French laic state that does not tolerate the interference of religion in domestic affaires.”85 Rephrasing. p. the principle of otherness acknowledges that it is natural and even fair to exclude those who belong to other cultures simply because their cultures are different. but because they belong to other cultures. The entire mechanism of exclusion is based on a positive presentation of the in‐group which is systematically paired to a negative presentation of the out‐group. Interventionism. “[…] Il [l’ Islam] s’agit d’éradiquer de notre univers spirituel et intellectuel tout ce qui nous rattache à la civilisation occidentale et chrétienne […] L’islam est bien plus qu’une simple croyance. primarily referred to as we. Martin Barker. Populism. . and customs against outsiders not because these outsiders are inferior. Barker considers the new racism as pseudo‐ biological culture and the race as the attribute of culture. 78.
p.”86 […] It [Islam] works to eradicate our spiritual and intellectual universe everything that links us to the Western civilization and Christianity […] Islam is much more than just a belief. quite the contrary. blamed and excluded. Identité. An analysis of the Political Discourse… les confie à l’état” [L]es normes sociales et des comportements [islamique] ne sont. p. 1990. Crandall. and the necessity of social hierarchies. compatibles avec notre civilisation. there are other two important mechanisms framed by Crandall that are used to justify discriminatory practices: “attributive” approaches and “hierarchical” approaches. the later approaches justify the goodness. Les 5 grand chantiers du quinquennat Le Pen. our conception of man. M. our legal traditions. It is a theocracy that is religion.88 The naturalness of the superiority that French have over the immigrants is expressed straightforward by Le Pen in the next quotation: “Il est normal que les Français dans leur propre pays aient une priorité sur les étrangers. “Le cri du Muezzin”. April 2007. Kleck. 89 See FDA Le magazine de Jean‐Marie Le Pen. New York and London: Guilford Press. notre conception de l’homme. 2000. ni de près. Les Français héritent d’un patrimoine en naissant.E. The Social Psychology of Stigma. “Ideology and Lay Theories of Stigma: The Justification of Stigmatization”. 86 87 . Heatherton. in T. Along with the principle of otherness.F. 6.”89 It is normal that the French in their own countries have a priority over foreigners. conquis par le travail et le sacrifice des générations précédents. 88 Ibidem. and thus who has to be held responsible. 133. Paperback. ni de loin. The French inherit inborn assets conquered by the See Jean‐Marie Le Pen.54 The New Populism. Christian S. nos traditions juridiques. ils ont donc un droit particulier dans leur propre pays […]. it involves them and entrusts the State” [T]he [Islamic] social norms and behaviours are neither close nor far consistent with our civilization. Hebl and J. 129.87 While the former approaches establish who caused the problems. the naturalness. state and system of government: “The Islamic religion does not distinguish between the temporal and religious power. no.G.).R. Hull (eds. R.
For example.”90 Suppress the “suction pumps” by reserving the various welfare aides and family allowances only to the French and reinstating. However. “Supprimer les “pompes aspirantes” en réservant les aides sociales diverses et les allocations familiales aux seuls Français et en réinstaurant. daar kunnen we koning Hassan niet mee opschepen.. the national preference for the social benefits. dans le cadre de nouvelles dispositions législatives. Le Pen introduced the principle of préférence nationale (national preference) to ensure that the French people are the only beneficiaries of the social assistance provided by the State and that the social benefits are redistributed to them only. The hierarchy is rather established because it justifies why some receive special treatment whereas others are excluded. Interventionism. Even so. only those who were born and raised in the Netherlands should be considered Dutch citizens: “Ik zeg: iedereen die hier binnen is. under new laws.. Fortuyn also favoured the exclusion of immigrants by advocating the ban on immigration and the preferential grant of refugee right. Three Approaches. Het zijn onze Marokkaanse rotjongens. . his opinions were racist in the sense that he denied the civil rights of Antillean youths. Ik wil niemand zijn burgerrechten ontnemen. thus. As well as Le Pen. The hierarchical thinking does not necessarily imply that the perceived inferior races and cultures have to subordinate to the superior ones. We hebben ze zelf binnengelaten. they have. blijft hier binnen. despite the fact that Netherlands Antilles is part of the Dutch kingdom. considering them illegal immigrants. In his opinion. la préférence nationale pour les prestations sociales. Populism. a particular right in their own countries […]. Fortuyn did not manifest such extremist views regarding the illegal comers.Radicalism. dan zullen we het ook zelf moeten 90 Idem. unlike Le Pen. 55 work and sacrifice of previous generations. who stated that illegal immigrants should be placed in transit camps before being expelled with a special train to their home countries.
making it our own problem to solve.56 The New Populism. la menace mortelle) and metaphors of war. le ‘génocide culturel’.. For instance. ‘la disparition de la Nation’. ”92 […] in the diabolical square of the destruction of France led by the politicians of the Establishment.] The anti‐discriminatory legislation and the social restraints forced racist parties to convey the bluntly and violent racist messages into more subtle and indirect forms of social domination. les pompes aspirantes. Maar als je hier geboren en getogen bent. [http://www. November 5. de Volkskrant. you have civil rights [. but at the same time. [http://www. nou. 2008. 2008. 92 See Three hundred measures for the French renaissance [300 mesures pour la renaissance de la France]. . after ‘the biological extinction’ of 91 Frank Poorthuis and Hans Wansink. De islam is een achterlijke cultuur [Islam is a backward culture]. s’ajoute le quatrième côté.. water and disease (la bombe.volkskrant. An analysis of the Political Discourse… oplossen. to create an image of “the future of agony” that France is expecting to have. They evade the explicit reference to racism by replacing the biological argumentation with the biological rhetoric. For Antillean youths. they can go back.nl/den_haag/article153195. and we can not shift responsibility to King Hassan..php]. We let them enter. Die zijn hier illegaal binnengekomen.frontnational. hup terug. I will not deny anybody’s civil rights. But if you’re born and raised here. heb je burgerrechten [. ‘la submersion migratoire’. après ‘l’extinction biologique’ de la France.. They entered here illegally. Voor Antilliaanse jongeren wil ik een uitzondering maken. They are our Moroccan bad boys. l’extinction biologique).com/doc_id_immigration. well. le génocide culturel. in order to hide the racist content of their discourse.ece/De_islam_is_een_achterlijke_cultuur] November 5. the leaders of FN used rhetoric devices.]”91 I say: everyone who has been here can remain here. menée par les politiciens de l’établissement. I would like to make an exception. such as hyperboles (le carré diabolique de la destruction. The protagonists of this doomsday scenario are the immigrants and euromondialists lead by the French ruling elites: “[…] dans le carré diabolique de la destruction de la France.
Both Le Pen and Fortuyn denied that immigrants and Muslims could be victims of a stigmatized stereotypical thinking. Denials and victimization are also used as tactics to avoid being openly racist. a fourth side is added.. April 2007. baptised as “fight against racism” are for our national identity a deadly threat: they change in depth the very substance of the French people. reinforced by the social and legislative devices very supportive and a delirious propaganda of foreign preference. Populism. année après année. he said that the Netherlands underwent the process of emancipation of homosexuals long time ago and their identity had been accepted in the public sphere. Interventionism. Paperback. a restraint to the human rights and freedoms. ‘the migratory submergence’. maintaining instead that the natives were those discriminated by immigrants. 57 France. on the contrary. and thus. sont pour notre identité nationale une menace mortelle : ils modifient en profondeur la substance même du peuple français.. Moreover. confortées par des dispositifs législatifs et sociaux très favorables et une délirante propagande de préférence étrangère. to motivate people to support restrictive and anti‐immigration policies: “La présence et le développement. the Dutch were unfairly treated by Islamic immigrants. Three Approaches. He claimed that the Dutch had been the victims of Islamic discrimination and crime and clearly stated that the backward Islam had been a hindrance to the development of the Netherlands and even more. ‘the disappearance of the Nation’. the ‘cultural genocide’. But with 93 See FDA Le magazine de Jean‐Marie Le Pen. Le Pen blamed immigrants for being a danger to the French identity and prosperity.Radicalism. . Fortuyn used disclaimers to negate the hatred for Muslims and highlighted that. The metaphors and the hyperboles were employed to create fear and anxiety. of the colonies of people. Les 5 grand chantiers du quinquennat Le Pen. de colonies de peuplement. year after year. baptisée ʺlutte contre le racismeʺ.” 93 The presence and development.
The core of the argument meant to invalidate the policies of the ruling parties was based on the frequent use of topoi (socially shared opinions and commonsense conclusions about 94 Frank Poorthuis and Hans Wansink.”94 I don’t hate Islam. I think it is a backward culture. it is terrible […] the Islam […] excludes people. “Ik haat de islam niet. The strategy to minimize the socio‐political phenomena of discrimination and racism is reinforced in the discourse of FN and LPF by the illegitimacy of the political opponents. these people were again seen obliged to hide their sexual orientations (homosexuals are less than a pig). Moroccan boys never steal from a Moroccan. And of course. Op middelbare scholen zijn tal van homoseksuele leraren die vanwege Turkse en Marokkaans jongens in de klas niet durven uitkomen voor hun identiteit […]. de Volkskrant. they can steal from me even more. There are many homosexual teachers in high schools that are afraid to reveal their sexuality because of Turkish and Moroccan youngsters […]. but I am even less than a pig. want ik ben niet alleen een christenhond. 2008.58 The New Populism. Ik heb veel gereisd in de wereld. maar ook nog minder dan een varken. Marokkaanse jongens bestelen nooit een Marokkaan.] Ja die islam. Is u dat wel eens opgevallen? Wij kunnen wel bestolen worden.. An analysis of the Political Discourse… Muslim immigrants. is het gewoon verschrikkelijk [. And everywhere where the Islam rules.ece/De_islam_is_een_achterlijke_cultuur] November 5. I’m not just a Christian dog. Ik vind het een achterlijke cultuur.volkskrant. […] I do not wish to redo the emancipation of women and homosexuals again. [http://www. Ze zien ons als een minderwaardig soort mensen. I’ve travelled all over the world. die zondert mensen af.. They see us as an inferior sort of people. . En ik natuurlijk nog dubbel. […] Ik heb geen zin de emancipatie van vrouwen en homoseksuelen nog eens over te doen. De islam is een achterlijke cultuur [Islam is a backward culture]. En overal waar de islam de baas is. Have you ever noticed that? They are allowed to steal from us.nl/den_haag/article153195.
fondée sur l’absence de distinction selon la nationalité. April 2007. “Le lobby immigrationniste a. based on the lack of distinction according to nationality. Populism. Implied conclusion: tougher legislation must be enacted.. Implied conclusion: do not trust the lobbyists. su entretenir une législation attractive. en effet. Paperback. indeed. Topos of attractive legislation: The immigration has been sustained by the same lobbyists through supportive social and legislative devices and a delirious propaganda. fussent‐elles islamiques. “Les lobbis de l’immigration prônent la collaboration: ils pensent pouvoir détruire l’essence de notre identité par une utilisation d’autant plus perverse de l’Islam qu’elle ne repose pas sur des valeurs religieuses.”96 The immigration lobby has. 95 .”95 Lobbyists of immigration advocate collaboration: they think they can destroy the essence of our identity by using as much as pervert Islam which is not based on religious values. See FDA Le magazine de Jean‐Marie Le Pen. even if they were Islamic. 59 something). Interventionism. Les 5 grand chantiers du quinquennat Le Pen. favoured (Islamic) immigration and tried to destroy the essence of the French identity.. been able to maintain an attractive legislation.Radicalism. 96 Idem. Three Approaches. Topos of decline: The Purple coalition had not dealt with the problem of the Islamic closed culture and the situation had worsened since 1993. The topoi that were often part of the illegitimate strategy of these parties are: Topos of complicity: The lobbyists of immigration (the euromondialists and the politicians of the Establishment) advocated collaboration.
That didn’t happen. die gesloten cultuur. “Janmaat ging wel een stapje verder. Het is veel erger geworden. was put together in a story of helplessness and 97 Frank Poorthuis and Hans Wansink. On the contrary. .60 The New Populism. You will not see that with me […] I do not agree with this. Nou dat zie ik niet zo zitten. Daar moeten we maar eens even mee stoppen. 2008. de Volkskrant. the denials. initially I had great expectations. Dat is niet gebeurd. 98 Idem. An analysis of the Political Discourse… Implied conclusion: the coalition must be changed if we want to preserve our culture and freedoms. Integendeel.”98 The ruling parties went a step further. the negative Other‐presentation. Ik dacht: die gaan dat aanpakken. the victimization and the illegitimacy of the political opponents.volkskrant.”97 When the Purple coalition took office in 1993. had ik daar aanvankelijk grote verwachtingen van. It became even worse.ece/De_islam_is_een_achterlijke_cultuur] November 5.nl/den_haag/article153195. Each separate element of the strategy conceived to antagonize the French and the Dutch people toward the immigrants and Muslims. Implied conclusion: we do not need such dishonest policies. They encouraged the policy to give all the people a one way ticket back [without taking into consideration the civil rights]. [http://www. I thought myself: they will address the issues of the closed culture. “Toen Paars in 1993 aantrad. Topos of abuse: The ruling parties abused the civil rights of immigrants by offering them bribe in change for their departure. Dat zult u bij mij niet zien. De islam is een achterlijke cultuur [Islam is a backward culture]. Die wilde bevorderen dat mensen een enkele reis terug kregen. We have to stop this.
les ressortissants immigrés se trouvent déracinés.”99 The presence on the French territory of increasingly numerous ethnicities. dont les membres privilégient souvent leur appartenance communautaire par rapport à leur assimilation au modèle français. the French and the Dutch civilization and civil peace succumbing under the pressure of ethnic conflict. En mêlant des hommes et des femmes d’origines ethniques et religieuses différentes.. Immigration is a major source of insecurity. 99 See FDA Le magazine de Jean‐Marie Le Pen. 61 control. the resident immigrants find themselves uprooted. Paperback. victimized and discriminated against by both the communities in question and the ruling elites are now able to see the wink of light at the end of the tunnel. who can re‐establish the true norms and values and who can reconstitute the foundations of the Dutch and French culture. L’immigration est donc une source majeure d’insécurité. April 2007.. The natives portrayed as helpless because of the threatening immigration and Islamization. ultimately poses a problem of civil peace. like the French in the neighbourhoods of immigrants who feel strangers in their own country. Les 5 grand chantiers du quinquennat Le Pen.Radicalism. Le Pen and Fortuyn reveal themselves as two strong leaders who are going to fight to save France and the Netherlands from decline. whose members often prefer the belongingness to their community in relation to their assimilation to French model. By mixing men and women of different ethnic and religious origins. Interventionism. pose à terme un problème de paix civile. They portray themselves as the only politicians who can defend the interests of the ordinary people. coupés de leurs traditions. Three Approaches. “La présence sur le territoire français d’ethnies de plus en plus nombreuses. Populism. . With the “crisis” hitting the roof. cut off from their traditions. tout comme les Français dans les quartiers immigrés se sentent étrangers dans leur propre pays.
Frank Poorthuis and Hans Wansink. A comparison of the Right and the Extreme‐Right in the Netherlands and France (1990‐97)”.nl/den_haag/article153195. we may say that despite the fact that these parties acted as racist both at the semantic and conceptual level trying to justify and legitimize the exclusion of immigrants and Muslims.volkskrant. it is also a sense of belonging. ce ne pas simplement un envie d’être ensemble. 195. of common interest. The “stories” were built up using fallacies (straw men fallacy. De islam is een achterlijke cultuur [Islam is a backward culture]. De politiek moet de burger uitnodigen mee te doen. Politicians should invite the citizens to participate.”101 We want to give the country back to the people.ece/De_islam_is_een_achterlijke_cultuur] November 5.”100 I am paid to defend the French. d’intérêt commun. their political Idem. p. no. Racist references were also signalled more in the discourse of Le Pen than in the discourse of Fortuyn. The semantic strategies of both parties have many commonalities but also differences. while Le Pen tried to ‘simplify and exaggerate’ the content of his messages in order to increase the impact on the public opinion. “We willen het land teruggeven aan de mensen. of shared risk.62 The New Populism. je ne l’oublie pas. I did not forget it. Whereas Le Pen acknowledged indirectly his racist views. in Ethnicities. An analysis of the Political Discourse… “Je suis payé pour défendre les Français. Fortuyn was more preoccupied to deny them. slippery‐slope fallacy. ad hominem fallacy) to invalidate the political opponents and rhetoric devices to increase the persuasive effects of the arguments. La nation. In conclusion. de Volkskrant. 2008. The nation is not simply a desire to be together. The analysis of the use of language in LPF discourse showed nevertheless subtle forms of racism and discrimination. c’est aussi un sentiment d’appartenance. 100 101 . 2003. Moi. [http://www. “Political discourse on ethnic issues. 102 Ineke van der Valk. However. 3(2).102 Fortuyn delivered more informed speeches sustained by clear evidence. de risque partagé.
Assuming the populist identity from the ideological point of view Until now. challenge or denounce the status‐quo. According to this conceptualization. Heywood defines ideology as a more or less coherent set of ideas that provide a basis for organised political action [. . and they strive to create more direct links between the people and those who share the political power... Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. Political Ideologies. from the bulk of different identities. I argue that Populism matches these criteria because it claims to know the way the present order functions and it offers an alternative that it is portrayed as the only legitimate path to reach the ideal political arrangement. Therefore. Therefore.103 We can extract from this definition three important aspects: underlying programmatic ideas (i) about the present order. 103 Andrew Heywood. In this sub‐section. 2003. Interventionism.] intended to preserve.Radicalism. they take an anti‐establishment stance by accusing both the government and the opposition of stealing the democracy from the people. we may ascertain that together with the racist identity.. I am though focusing on the concept of Populism as ideology because it contributes to the structuring of the last important identity.. and (ii) about ways to maintain. modify or overthrow the existing power system. Populism is a political ideology because it meets the necessary criteria to be labelled as such. Populism. there are other identities assumed by FN and LPF through discourse. 43. 3rd Edition. of LPF and FN. A populist party appeals to vox populi by sustaining more direct forms of democracy and it criticizes the establishment for being elitist and for creating an institutional framework that hinders the transparency of the political decisions. p. the concept of populism has been framed in this chapter as a mechanism rather than an ideology that explains how the heterogeneous identities of a party come together in a chain of equivalence and subsume to a hegemonic identity while they carry on the common rejection towards an excluded element. An Introduction. Three Approaches. (ii) about the ideal‐type of political arrangement. I argue that FN and LPF are populists because they refer to people as a unified corpus. 63 programme was not entirely focused on the criminality of immigrants and on the Islamization of culture and identity.
private institutions and media. 5 (3). When speaking about “the people”. les Français (the French). Ignoring any democratic accountability. However. and oppressed because of the arbitrary policies dictated by particular interests. . London: Sage Publications. nos compatriots (our compatriots). LPF was attaching to “the people” a civic connotation.104 FN and LPF placed “the establishment” in direct opposition to “the people”. While FN was giving an explicit nationalist connotation. The anti‐establishment statements were often accompanied by the reference to the victimized people. the farmer). the patient. as if they were referring to abstract entities.g. FN shot its arrows well beyond the national boundaries. The ideal‐type of democracy where the will belongs solely to “the people” is contrasted to the existing representative democracy that is practiced in corrupt institutions through abusive policies dictated by oligarchic interests.105 Despite the fact that in general terms the criticism was framed more or less in the same fashion. 321. la nation (the nation). ordinary as opposed to the elitist government or “political class”. Le Pen denounces the whole French system of being corrupt because it favours back‐stage affaires and it practices political clièntelism. no. 105 Darin David Barney and David Laycock. the citizens. in Party Politics. les “dynasties bourgeoises” (the 104 The rhetoric technique is synecdoche that is understood as a figure of speech in which a whole is represented by one of its parts. Although less frequent. “The people” in the populist perception are a single unity. “Right‐Populists and Plebiscitary Politics in Canada”. the parties were referring to “the people” in a particular sense also (the entrepreneur. particular variation could be found also. these groups became representative for the whole through a rhetoric technique with the purpose to appeal to a broader audience. Barney and Laycock say that the main purpose of these statements is to delegitimise established structures of interest articulation and aggregation. An analysis of the Political Discourse… The reference to “the people” occurs heavily in both the discourse of FN and LPF. For instance. 1999. p. attacking Euro‐Atlantic political actors and institutions for interfering into French domestic affairs (e. both FN and LPF employed general terms such as the people. with no internal cleavages. les lobbis de l’immigration – the lobbyists of immigration). The target of the populist critique is not only the political elite but also bureaucracy.64 The New Populism. de burger (the citizens).
there were several references to the incompetence of the political elites (Paarse Coalitie – the Purple Coalition) to “westernize” the Islamic culture.. considered as the Trojan horse of intolerance. FN and LPF sustained that the sovereignty should be placed back in the hands of “the people”. Fortuyn was more concerned with the malfunction of the system due to sinuous bureaucracy and intermediary structures that were disturbing the direct communication between “the people” and the elected and that were spreading the resources. 2008. While LPF issued concrete proposals of institutional changes and direct election of mayors and the prime‐minister. les élites dirigeantes (the leading elites). LPF employed rhetorical figurae to express the discontent and to enhance the persuasion of the argumentation: De bezem door de doorgeschoten bureaucratie (Sweeping the bureaucracy that went too further). popular consultations. FN used la voie référendaire (referendum) rather as a rhetorical mean than a democratic viable solution.asp?t=show&id=1432] November 6. and even a reform of the electoral system. The terminology used to discredit “the establishment” was general. It is derived from the combination of the color of the liberals (blue) and social‐ democrats (red). They intended to do this by means of direct democracy such as referenda. Three Approaches. Interventionism. All in all. we can observe from the previous analysis that all three elements of the populist ideology were present in the discourse of LPF and See Verkiezingsprogramma LPF Hoofdpunten ‐ januari 2003 [The main points of the electoral programme of LPF – January 2003] [http://www.pimfortuyn.. On the other hand. The opinion formers (journalists. but also specific.106 As we can see. However. scientists) were also finger pointed for not showing the true face of the reality.Radicalism. l’établissement (the Establishment). However.107 To remedy the situation and to redeem the broken political system. les lobbis financiers mondialistes (international financial lobbyists). 106 . 107 De Paars or the Purple is the nickname of a government coalition of social‐democrats and liberals. directed to particular institutions or politicians. both parties stressed that they are working for “the people” and they intend to make the process of decision‐making fully transparent.com/asp/default. Populism. 65 bourgeois dynasties) transmit the electoral mandates from father to son. the main difference between the discourse of LPF and FN is that the former is attacking less the “political class” and more the bureaucracy that flourished inside the public system.
I preferred “radical” instead of “radical right” or “extreme right” because the latter would have implied a strict labelling in line with the Left‐Right division. In addition. Moreover. the void may be occupied by political signs radically opposed. 109 Ernesto Laclau.108 Radical populist identity The purpose of this last sub‐section is to show that the discursive process in which an identity becomes hegemonic follows the populist logic. An analysis of the Political Discourse… FN. According to Laclau. it is not clear what contribution Fortuyn would have brought to the Dutch political 108 See Jasper de Raadt. On the other hand. in a chain of equivalence against the excluded element.66 The New Populism. the electoral programme of FN contained leftist policy proposals such as protectionnisme ciblé (targeted protectionism) with regards to certain strategic sectors and family aids for French only. FN adopted Populism as a style of political communication and behaved more as a catch‐all people’s party. Populism had been assumed more seriously by LPF since it managed to propose a coherent political action. p. La raison populiste. and André Krouwel. the leftist themes were not extensively developed in the electoral programme of LPF. 2. their strategy was not focused solely on the disparagement of the political opponents and on the exaggeration of their human capacities to change the status quo. p. However. Working Papers Political Science. 108. the degree of intensity differed from one dimension to the other. all the other separate identities and it had incorporated the chain into its own identity. On the other hand. not only belonging to the Right but also to the Left. with a socialist background and educated in the spirit of Marxist ideology.109 For instance. David Hollanders. I want to illustrate that FN and LPF. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 2004. populism has an ontological necessity to express permanently the social division. The word “radical” placed in front of populist identity stresses the importance of the language used by LPF and FN in adopting the anti‐ immigrant and anti‐Muslim stance. 2004/04. by issuing a discourse against immigrants and Muslims. managed to fix their populist identity to a nodal point after it had reunited. “Varieties of Populism: An Analysis of the Programmatic Character of Six European Parties”. In other words. . No. and therefore. Though.
de Islam (the Islam). Interventionism. the French. which. and populist identity. The populist elites preserved the antagonism by employing floating signifiers. insecurity was used in the anti‐immigrant argumentation because it could stand for unfulfilled social demands such as . FN ‐ fascist. When a party emerges or undertakes a new theme in its discourse it is forced to identify within a specific location in the political structure by filling up a gap which exists there. They continued to exist because what mattered was the perceived common enemy. The racist identity monopolized the unsatisfied social demands caused by the cultural incompatibility between the natives and the immigrants. 67 life if he had been alive after the elections in 2002. The coagulation of the other identities did not imply the elimination of all differences.. For example. the Dutch versus les étrangers (foreigners). Three Approaches. This means that when immigration and “Islamization” became the core issues of FN and LPF’ programme. especially those of Muslim origin. racist. sans papiers (the documentless). the radical populist identity became hegemonic through the integration of the other heterogeneous identities in a chain of equivalence. les clandestins (illegal immigrants). it does not have a fixed location within the social structure. these parties had to identify within certain positions depending on their discourse at a given moment in time (e. Once the “cause” of the problems had been identified.. The populist identity outlines the gap between the citizens and institutional politics. Each identity is the expression of unfulfilled social demands. LPF ‐ racist and populist identity). for the people”. in this case. the identity or the “government by the people.g. The fascist identity of FN is the exponent of ethnic clashes. When the social antagonism was expressed. No identity is a‐priori and thus. In addition. The radical populist identity brought together the disconnected social demands and laid the blame on immigrants and Muslims for causing them. these parties are rather reactionary that xenophobic because they criticize the political system for being technically incompetent and morally corrupt to deal with the immigration and integration and they do not reject in totality the immigrants and Muslims. concepts that can be found in all three types of discourses: fascist racist and populist. was the immigrant and Muslim community. Populism. the radical populist elites portray themselves as the only legitimate politicians that could restore the country.Radicalism.
as I said earlier. This means that both parties acquired radical populist identity by placing the heterogeneous identities (embodied in three different ideologies) in a chain of equivalence and by opposing the chain to an exterior element. The electorate of these parties did not necessarily identified with any type of ideology. All in all. racist or populist. their preferences could be induced through persuasive communication. we can see that the radical populist strategy of these parties entails the passage from disconnected social demands to a universal one via the construction of a chain of equivalence and the creation of an external. Conclusions In this chapter I attempted to analyze according to Discourse Theory the manner in which FN and LPF framed their radical populist identity. being it fascist. They coagulated the voters by shaping their dissatisfactions regarding to the presence of immigrants and Muslims in France and in the Netherlands. The empirical evidence shows that radical populist parties mobilized a large part of the electorate not because their policies were actually seen comprehensive and well founded but because they occupied the space left free by the lack of an alternative political discourse. Therefore. . They were also accused for coming to France because the system offers them more advantageous unemployment benefits than the wages they could receive in their home countries. a large percentage of voters did not have fixed issue positions (fixed identities). An analysis of the Political Discourse… unemployment (social insecurity) and high crime rate (physical insecurity). Grosso modo. it does not necessarily imply that its components can not be the expression of ideologies. This was possible because. the analysis indicated that although the radical populist identity is void of any ideological content. the anti‐immigrant discourse apparently pertaining to the right‐ wing was combined with themes that belonged to the left‐wing repertoire in order to attract voters who did not have a solid idea about their identity. antagonistic force. The immigrants and the Muslims were blamed for abusing laws and for embracing the physical violence.68 The New Populism. so.
I would like to acknowledge the fact that the social becomes a meaningful construction only through discourse but. FN has a fascist dimension due to its affiliation to fascist movements. These elements were not entirely preserved in the discourse of FN. the degree of radical populism differs from one party to the other. In addition. In the end. While Fortuyn criticized the public sector and signalled the state of decline due to the purple years of inconsistent policies. anti‐ materialism and ethnic nationalism. the general democratic rhetoric was missing from the discourse of FN. Another difference between the parties analysed is that FN scored higher on racist statements than LPF.. On the other hand. .Radicalism. it is disrupted by dislocation and antagonism. The positive presentation of the in‐ group (the French) and negative presentation of the out‐group (immigrants and Muslims) was highlighted through an excessive utilization of discourse strategies based on rhetoric that implied an increased level of persuasion and manipulation. from which it borrowed a number of principles such as Führerprinzip. Three Approaches. Populism. being rather used as discursive strategies. Le Pen directed his critique mostly towards the Establishment. the discourse of LPF showed more subtle forms of racism and discrimination. at the same time. A further differentiation between FN and LPF could be made also when the scale of populism was examined. FN identified with all three components of radical populist identity (fascist. Interventionism. racist and populist) while LPF assumed only the last two identities.. 69 However.
2003. world politics is explained by highlighting the discursive structures that make possible certain representations and certain identities for actors on the scene of international relations. p. In order to do so. the approach will be implicitly a discursive one. this reading of the Other as danger. XV. Orientalism. ‘Orientalism’: “Without a well‐organized sense that these people over there were not like ‘us’ and didn’t appreciate ‘our’ values – the very core of traditional Orientalist dogma […] – there would have been no war”. and the legitimization of violence against it. Why are some actors read as danger? Who renders this reading possible and on what grounds? What I aim at revealing are the discursive structures that made the intervention in Iraq in March 2003 possible. my starting point will be the events that took place on September 11. but we should keep in mind the warning that Edward Said makes in the 2003 edition of his book. The Discursive Road form 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom Nicoleta Colopelnic The aim of this essay is to render evident the discursive conditions of possibility of ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’. ‘Axis of Evil’ gained their meaning and how they made possible a certain identification of the actors involved. .1 So. ‘war on terror’. draws upon discursive structures that were at hand before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Using this approach. I shall try to explain how such expressions as 9/11. Baring this in mind. London: Penguin Books. 1 Edward Said. 2001. In doing so.
71 The Discursive Approach: Preliminary Remarks Since its establishment as an academic subject. Steve Smith.. (eds. in contrast a constitutive theory is one that thinks our theories actually help construct the world”. p. p. the theoretical approaches can be divided into foundational and anti‐ foundational. 226. 2 . is known as Postmodernism. According to François Lyotard. Populism. theoretical approaches can be divided into explanatory and constitutive: “An explanatory theory is one that sees the world as something external to our theories of it. mainly Neo‐Realism and neo‐Liberalism. in John Baylis. The many different theories tried to establish the main actors on the scene of international relations. 227.). assuming that there is no reality outside the theory that can only seek to understand this “reality” and not to explain it. many new debates marking its evolution till this day.2 According to their answer to the epistemological question. Interventionism. Postmodernism refers to incredulity Steve Smith.Radicalism. The main methodological dispute between the traditional and the alternative approaches can be reduced to two main issues: the ontological issue – is there an objective reality? – and the epistemological issue: can we know this reality? According to their answer to the ontological question. their goals and the main patterns of their behaviour. 3 Ibidem. ”Reflectivist and constructivist approaches to international theory”. this ”distinction refers to the simple‐sounding issue of whether our beliefs about the world can be tested or evaluated against any neutral or objective procedures”. 1999. the field of international relations theory became more and more diverse.3 An approach that is both constitutive and anti‐foundational. The globalization of world politics: an introduction to international relations.. Three Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press. and the new alternative approaches to international relations. The debate that goes on as we speak is one between the established traditional or mainstream theories.
240.6 But the power‐knowledge relationship is not the only issue raised by Postmodernism. op. p.. p.72 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom towards metanarratives. “What is communicated about events is determined. Inroads. Gergen.5 Truth and power are not independent from one another. not by the character of events themselves. 1986. Shweder (eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. cit. They claim to be objective and reveal an universal truth about human nature.. Michel Foucault.8 When it comes to the academic field of Ibidem. There methods are deconstruction and double reading. and Intrusions. p. or about the nature of international relations. another one is the relationship between truth and language.7 From this point of view. 1992.4 These metanarratives are in fact theories that base themselves on foundationist claims. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 240.). Power/Knowledge. Jacques Derrida suggests two methods for uncovering the way through which a text is constructed based upon oppositions of terms that are naturalized and claim to represent reality. Winslow Fiske. 239. Pauline Marie Rosenau. What this means is that statements about the social world are only ´true´ within specific discourses”. 7 Kenneth J. there is no ´objective´ truth. New York: Pantheon Books. Thus. 79. in Donald W. only ´regimes of truth´ that “reflect the ways in which. Richard A. that a theory is neutral and all it does is discover rules and patterns of behaviour that are universally valid. 78. the claim of many theories that they represent reality is highly problematic.. apud. because every theory establishes what matters as a fact and assumes that its claims are universally valid. 6 Steve Smith. cit. 1980. cit. Metatheory in Social Science. but by linguistic figures or forms”. apud Pauline Marie Rosenau. op. 8 Steve Smith. or the social and political world. p. „Correspondence versus Autonomy in the Language of Understanding Human Action”. through history both power and truth develop together in a mutually sustaining relationship. and we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth”. 132. Op. 143. 4 5 . The ´truth´ is not independent from the theory that explains it. Postmodernism questions the claim that an objective truth is out there for us to explain. p. p. p. Post‐Modernism and the Social Sciences: Insights. According to Michel Foucault: ”We are subjected to the reproduction of truth through power.
meaning. Ernesto Lacalau. But integrating some social and political issues into this analysis led to the expanding of the field of discourse analysis to issues concerning identity construction. Deconstrucția politicii. discourse theories are those theories that using an inter‐disciplinary approach. Chantal Mouffe. power and legitimation. The Sublime Object of Ideology. Populism. Hegemony. Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left. the power‐truth relationship. when and why uses language? These questions outline the main issues that discourse theories are concerned with: identity. The Democartic Paradox. From a linguistic point of view. Contingency.. how. The Order of Things. in time. the process of political legitimation. identity. Neo‐ Realism and Its Critics. Archeology of Knowledge. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy.). discourse analysis refers to the analysis of certain texts. Writting and Difference. dealing especially with issues concerning social practice. “The Poverty of Neo‐Realism” in Robert O. Judith Butler. Chantal Mouffe. Keohane (ed. 10 See Michel Foucault. Although in the beginning. New Reflections on the Revolution of our Time. Discourse was defined as a social practice and its main issue was that of the forming and reforming of the object and subject through discourse. Jacques Derrida. Ernesto Laclau.Radicalism. These social and political issues are approached as discursive practices. the postmodern issues concerning the existence of an objective reality and an objective truth. Slavoj Žižek. A definition of the term discourse must come to answer several questions regarding the usage of language: who. Emancipations. Ernesto Laclau. Slavoj Žižek. 1986. the relationship between reality and language. and the construction of reality through language began to gain ground in discourse analysis. the main target of deconstruction and double reading were different concepts naturalized by the traditional approaches in explaining the behaviour of states. Speech and Phenomena. Three Approaches. Ernesto Laclau.9 Often referred to as postmodern. Jacques Derrida. 9 .10 See Richard K. Discipline and Punish. legitimation and power. One of the most criticized theories to this day is Neo‐Realism. Ashley. The Return of the Politica. 73 international relations theory. These developments in discourse theory are attributed to the important contributions of Michel Foucault. Interventionism. New York: Columbia University Press. the different theoretisations concerning discourse were more prone to the semantic and linguistic aspects. aim at combining elements of linguistic analysis with main elements of social and political analysis. Chantal Mouffe and Slavoj Žižek..
it is produced there by virtue of multiple constraints. Morris. arises as the experience of the limit of the social.. To Jacques Derrida. Sydney: Feral Publications. and according to Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. but it is a practice that continuously forms and reforms its objects. Poststructuralism and International Relations. the way in which each is sanctioned. (ed. apud Sara Mills. p. p. London: Boulder. the main difference between language and discourse is one concerning power: “we can. Language does not merely reflect reality. its ʹgeneral politicsʹ of truth: that is the types of discourse it harbours and causes to function as true: the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true from false statements. Ferdinand de Saussure points to Jenny Edkins.12 A discourse is not something isolated. but this limit is within the social. no extradiscursive realm”.). say some things and not others?”11 Discourse is defined as a practice that can be best understood if we analyse the relationship between truth. Even social identity is determined by discursive practices. nothing being left outside discourse. 13 Jenny Edkins. New York: Routledge. discourse plays an essential role in the construction of the social and of social identity. Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault: Power/Truth/Strategy. cit. but actually constructs it. 16. These discursive approaches own their development to a change in the view on language that led to the questioning of the nature of representation.74 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom Michel Foucault explores the relationship between truth and power. linguistically. knowledge and power. Why do we. the techniques and procedures which are valorised for obtaining truth: the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true”. 134.13 The discursive practices determine and constitute the social and political structures. in fact. p. say many things. 1979. „Truth and power: an interview with Alessandro Fontano and Pasquale Pasquino”. there is no extradiscursive reality: “The notion of antagonism. inside what Foucault calls a ´regime of truth´: “Truth is of the world. 2004. p. 11 12 . central to their work. …Each society has its regime of truth. op. Discourse. 46. 46. not beyond it: There is no beyond. in Patton M. 1999. According to him.
Thus the discourses that are available to us limit the ways of identification. “Our identity therefore originates not from inside the person. Structures of Discourse. and styles of discourse”. The opposition relies on an illusion”. tries to “to show how two opposing terms function within thought. they are given more credit. 5 March 2008. “Identity Construction: New Issues. Annual Review of Sociology. [http://www. Some discourses are more legitimate then other..pdf]. pp. 22.org/stable/2952557]. New York: Routledge. p. by using the notion of difference.. Social Constructionism. [http://www. 17 Karen A. p. 15 Jenny Edkins.18 Jonathan Potter. the discursive practice also plays an essential role in identity construction. 387. a sea that is invisible to us because it is the very medium of our existence as social beings”. New Directions”. p. op.discourses. a realm where people swim in a sea of language and other signs. There are two kinds of relations that make up the system of differences that give a word its meaning: the contrast with other words and the position in sentences. 2003.16 Not only this. contents. 18 Vivien Burr. 14 . 26 May 2008.org/OldArticles/Structures%20of%20discourse%20and%20structure s%20of%20power. 23. 68. cit. van Dijk. The process of identification actually refers to the interests and resources of the one that is making this identification. But Postmodernism is the one that would pay more attention to the role of power in the process of identification. 70. Structures of Power. Cerulo. London: Sage Publication. Starting with the anti‐essentialist view of socio‐constructivism “every collective [identity] becomes a social artefact”. 75 the way in which a word derives its meaning from its relation with other words. 1997. 2004. but from the social realm. Rethoric and Social Construction.Radicalism. but.. Three Approaches.17 that constitutes itself in the process of social interaction. p. Vol. Interventionism. “Power is directly exercised and expressed through differential access to various genres.jstor. Representing Reality: Discourse.14 The notion of difference elaborated by de Saussure is taken one step further by Jacques Derrida who. but in close connection to them. 16 Teun A. 108‐109.15 Language and discourse raise issues concerning power. Populism. arguing that the construction of identities does not take place outside power relations.
133. as Jacques Derrida suggests. we must. Pennsylvania. pp. 2001. changed the priorities when it comes to assuring collective security. 19 . p. London: Verso. identity is not perceived as something stable. cit. It is in a process of continuous formation and reformation through the language and power games that structure the social and political reality. Another passenger plane crashed into the Pentagon Building in Washington D. and yet a forth plane crashed near Shanks Ville. leading to their collapse and causing the death of approximately 3000 persons. Ernesto Laclau. New Reflections. “New Reflections on the Revolutions of Our Time” in Ernesto Laclau. 199.19 Thus.76 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom The postmodern subject does not have a fix. According to Ernesto Laclau “the constitution of a social identity is an act of power and identity as such is power”. 31–32.20 To be able to understand what turns 9/11 into a “major event”. op. (ed. 1990.). p. as something that can be established once and for all.. apud Jenny Edkins. Shuja. two passenger planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. This was a “major event” that left a deep mark on the scene of international relations.C. and language and the social environment contribute to the construction of this identity. essential identity. 2002. 9/11 and “the War on Terror” A major event: 9/11 On the morning of September 11. What turned 9/11 into a “major event”? The postmodernist analysis defined the event as one that marks the end of the post‐Cold war era and with it a paradigm shift. and made the interventions in the name of the ”War against Terror” in Afghanistan and Iraq possible. “The September 11 Tragedy and the Future of World Order” in Contemporary Review. 20 Sharif M.
Jacques Derrida notices that to be able to grasp the whole significance of the event.11. Un dialog cu Giovanna Borradori”. p. the impression and the interpretation. From this point of view. Deconstrucția politicii.22 So. 9. 2005. in Jacques Derrida. I am referring here to Jacques Derrida. we don’t know how to qualify. Interventionism. 100. axiomatic. 21 . an acknowledgement of not understanding. „Autoimunități. they also shattered the entire post‐Cold War discourse. the 9/11 event was indeed a “major event”. logic. But. This is one reason why what happened on 9/11 is referred to by a simple calling of the date – September 11. a lack of foreseeing.Radicalism. nine‐eleven – “a name. The scale of material damage or of human loss cannot in itself account for the impression that what just happened is a major event. Populism. rhetoric and also the concepts and evaluations that should enable us to understand and explain something like 9/11. acknowledging that we do not recognize: we don’t even know. an event involves a certain perplexity. An event also involves a certain amount of surprise. a lack of a linguistic and conceptual framework within which we can define the fact as clear as possible. p. a date – it speaks of the unspeakable. 77 “distinguish between the brute fact. 102. According to Derrida. 9/11 represents a different kind of threat. it is almost impossible to cut out the brute fact from the system that produces the information about it”. more that just a quantitative analysis is needed.23 An event brings about it a silence. 22 Ibidem. The facts that took place on the morning of 9/11 shattered more than steel buildings.21 An event is not equal to the fact itself. we can say that 9/11 is a “major event” because it left the impression of being a major event. but it also contains the impression that the fact leaves. p. of the fact that what just happens is situated somewhere outside our horizon of knowledge and comprehending. Cluj‐Napoca: Ideea Design & Print. Three Approaches. we don’t know what we are talking about”. according to Derrida. 102. Of course.. sinucideri reale şi simbolice.. 23 Ibidem. a threat to “the whole system of interpretation.
2003. ʺAestheticising Terrorism: Alternative Approaches to 11 Septemberʺ in The Australian Journal of Politics and History 49. pp. 107. and by doing so it brought into disrepute the whole world political discourse for which the US war a guarantor. 3 March 2008. that ultimately is supposed to assure the credit in general. Ibidem. the state that following the collapse of the USSR remained the only hegemonic state on the scene of international relations.questia.”25 9/11 showed to the world that even this hegemonic power is vulnerable. mainly to the fact that the events were broadcasted live in every corner of the world. prevalent.3. act of war: making sense of 9/11 The act of naming 9/11 has important consequences on determining the significance of this event and of fitting it in a certain discourse. the first reaction is that of being perplexed. the targets chosen for the “attack” were not random targets.78 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom the entire discourse that is accounted for in a massive. 9/11 acquired a global dimension.24 The post‐Cold War discourse was no longer suitable to account for 9/11. Besides all this.qst?a=o&d=5002025505]. Ibidem. 9/11 is a major event because the target of the ´attack´ was the national territory of the United States of America. As we mentioned before. as well as when it comes to financial transactions. p.26 A whole new discursive framework must be used in order to account for this event by politicians and by political analysts as well. 105‐106. as when it comes to the language. 24 25 . laws. the one. The role of the US in the post‐Cold War era was that of “guarantor and tutor of the whole world order. [http://www. crime. Moreover. but they were the very symbols of economic and military power of this sole world superpower. and thanks to globalization. as well as on the establishing the identity of those who were directly involved. political or diplomatic transactions.com/PM. Tragedy. 26 Roland Bleiker. hegemonic way in the global public space”.
cit. to legitimize and even to legalize (because it is always a question of law). p. Bush. Sarasota. Emma Brooker Elementary School. to fit it into some discursive framework. Populism.28 Thus. Democracy and America’s War on Terror. which expresses the gap between what was experienced and what can actually be apprehended by thought. 116. p. Language. 79 “The prevalent faculties.31 The first interpretation of the event is a pretty Ibidem.. By naming this event the president (re)creates his role of leader: “when the president speaks. „Remarks by the President after two Planes Crash into World Trade Center. the interpretation that suits her best”. 29 Sara Silberstein. 2002.Radicalism. op.30 The act of naming actually took place is a series of successive addressing of the president to his nation. and to set the nation on a sensible course of action”. 5. 2006.. he governs”. in Sara Silberstein. Bush. to give a name to the events of 9/11? According to Derrida. the official reaction comes from Washington through the voice of President George W. 18. Interventionism. on a national or global scene.. op. in a certain situation. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country”. Three Approaches. The first remarks of the president defined the event as a tragedy: “Today weʹve had a national tragedy. what would be the official reaction “it was his role and the responsibility of his office to shape public opinion. Jacques Derrida.”27 After the shock comes the attempt to name the event. 31 George W. p. pain and fear. 27 28 . for they are unable to grasp the event in its totality. 11 September 2001. “the dominant power is the one that manages to impose. are confronted by their limits and reduced to impotency. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press. London: Routledge. War of Words.. cit. 30 Robert L. 127. But who has the authority and the legitimacy to do such a thing. including reason. Ivie. Florida”. The result is incomprehension. Politics and 9/11.29 Everybody turned his gaze upon President Bush to find out not only what happened but also what will happen next. to put events in perspective. p.
concerning its home affaires. and its punishment is mainly about maintaining the security of the state on a domestic level. The main way through which this is done is legislation and courts of law. but one that leads to an investigation to find those responsible and to bring them to justice.. in the words of Carl von Clausewitz. pp.32 As it can be noticed the definition of the event that comes out of these statements are rather more towards the naming of 9/11 as a crime. 11 September 2001. and that the main priority is the prevention of similar attacks. in Sara Silberstein. or an act of war that brings about a very different course of action? The general public is assured that those responsible for 9/11 will be hunted down and punished. On the other hand the notion of war is connected to the sovereignty of a sate in the sense of its autonomy from other similar entities and. In the president address to the nation. cit. our freedom”. It must be mentioned that when it comes to the notions of war and crime.80 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom indefinite one and it dose not offer much information about its nature. the government and the economy. the general public is assured that “our country is strong” and that everything will get back to normal. “war is the continuation of politics by other 32 George W. The fight against crime. a massive and unprecedented crime. that very day. it is true. even when we are talking about international crime is assured by the state police that can cooperate with the police of other states. the notion of crime is closely linked to the monopole of violence that the state has. thus treating them as criminals. . it is yet unknown what is the nature of this tragedy. According to this. “acts of mass murder”. but even so. there is between them a distinction that is based on the way in which sovereignty is defined in the modern era. This concerns an effort of the state to protect its citizens from the violent acts of other citizens of the same state. Bush. It is a tragedy. a few things are sorted out and named: what was attacked was “our way of life. op. by a series of “evil acts of terror”. is it a crime that involves a certain course of action. 19‐20. but there is no reference to the way in which this will be done. A crime is a breach of this monopole. “Statement by the President in his Address to the Nation”. at the same time an action to find those who are behind these “evil acts” is on it’s way: “Iʹve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice”.
mainly because at Pearl Harbor. Walker. 116. because the targets of 9/11 were not military as in the case of Pearl Harbor. cit. Another distinction that was shattered was the civilian – military distinction. B. civilian and military on a certain territory and in the structures that assures the defensive or offensive potential of a certain society?”36 R. 81 means”. Even if 9/11 was defined as an act of war we must ask ourselves as Derrida warns us “Where do we draw the line between national and international. Washington. war is something that concerns the foreign policy of a state. Populism. Interventionism. another sovereign state. a distinction that became very faint in the 20th century. cit. D. something that would need new distinctions to make it comprehendible.”35 But despite this it was clear that America had an enemy against which a global war would be declared.). “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People. London: Frank Cass. 36 Jacques Derrida. B. Three Approaches. 78. So. and Judgment. 20 September 2001. and Judgment” in Bulent Gokay. XIV. Japan. p. Something new happened on 9/11. Bush. Walker. 2003. “War. In the definition given to it by Clausewitz. J. p. 22. No state announced responsibility for the events of September 11. op. p. op. 35 Sara Silberstein. A series of distinctions that could be made in the case of the Pearl Harbor attack could not be made in the case of the 9/11 events.. But the Pearl Harbor analogy had its limits.. although until then terrorism. cit. (eds. Terror. peacekeeping intervention and war. The events of 9/11 were defined as being an act of war and not a crime. 33 . United States Capitol. attacked an American military base without any previous declaration of war. enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country”. 34 George W. including international terrorism were dealt with as crimes. police and army. the Pearl Harbor analogy being used very often. 11 September 2001: War. especially when it comes to ethnic wars. R.. Terror. in Sara Silberstein. terrorism and war. op. J. This was also evident in the fact that “The linguistic trajectory from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon began with silence..Radicalism. “On September the 11th. the notion of war also implies a clear distinction between civilians and soldiers.”.34 From all the interpretations that were at hand the one that was chosen was that of the act of war.C.33 noting that it is about politics between states. p..
Neither the scale of material damage.39 The first role of mass‐ media was to offer to the world public a set of images that became part of a “global memory”. Michelle Brown. requiring international cooperation that can only be productive after some time passes. Brunn. the response will be the calling up of a right to self‐defense and the declaration of a “war on terror”. correctly determine the culpability of the individual or individuals responsible for an incident and bring the perpetrators to trial. Media Representations of September 11. Brunn. 39 Steven Chermak. as Jacques Derrida rightfully remarks: Brian Michael Jenkins.). 2004.”37 Such a response is a rather a laborious one. Frankie Y. the appropriate response is to gather evidence.). (ed. Bailey. in Stanley D. Bailey. nor the number of victims did not determine the perception of the tragedy at a global level. (eds. 1. 2003. cit. A global public thus emerged. p. Frankie Y. 11 September and Its Aftermath: The Geopolitics of Terror. p. Michelle Brown. because. in Steven Chermak. The dimension of a major event was attributed to 9/11 also because of this “live” broadcasting of the facts across the world. leading to the creation of a “global memory”38 and to a global representation of the event. “Introduction”. London: Frank Cass. But keeping in mind the impression of a major event and the definition as an act of war. and defining it as an act of war supposes a completely different one. “If terrorism is considered a criminal matter. a public that lived this tragedy through their TV sets: “through media coverage that the day was primarily experienced and understood by its various cultural audiences”. Westport: CT: Praeger. Stanley D.82 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom Why was 9/11 defined as an act of war and not as a crime? Because defining it as a crime supposes a certain course of action as a response. p. 216. 4. “Introduction”.. op. Picturing 9/11 in the media The global dimension of 9/11 owns itself primarily to the broadcasting of the event across the world by the mass‐media. 37 38 . 9/11 became a global event under the eyes of millions of viewers that watch in perplexity the collapse of the twin towers.
. the killing of thousands of people in a very short time. 83 “in a certain situation and in a certain culture.. but showing what it is capable of to a larger public. 210. cit. giving priority to some interpretations and disregarding others. A terrorist act is a demonstration of might. 40 41 . television and communications satellites gave the terrorists almost instant access to a worldwide audience. publicizing their cause and creating widespread alarm”. 2007. By means of television broadcasting the whole planet witnessed this demonstration of might “radio. to offer an Jacques Derrida. to the potential victims of a future attack. Populism.. the heroic. rather more than it does through the number of casualties”. p. a certain culture. Interventionism. in Deborah Staines. especially the American media generated a certain representation of the 9/11 events. 8. Three Approaches.41 The representation power of the media is actually the dimension it is able to give to a certain event. Deborah Staines. then the assassination of a single individual in a certain county. exercises dramatic power through the mass med1ia coverage it receives. 43 Roland Bleiker. the global impact of 9/11 would have been much reduced in scale. cit. “Introduction”. p. can lead to less psychical and political outcomes. op.). unlike conventional military target attrition.. “Terrorism. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. In this way. 118. The main role of the media is to frame the event. Terrorism uses this power to attain its goal which is not as much the causing of material or human loss. The main characteristic of this image was the “blending information and entertainment in often highly problematic ways”. a certain nation‐state with an over‐ equipped media”. op. op. Without the mass‐media. p. monolithic image of 9/11.43 The main things that are emphasized are the spectacular. the expression of emotions and feelings of those involved in the tragedy so the depiction of it can be as veracious as possible for the viewers. Interrogating the War on Terror: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.42 Western mass‐media. the viewers received a unitary. with the condition that the media echo does not come to dramatize the event. cit. (ed.40 This was the exact effect that those who organized the terrorist attack expected. 42 Brian Michael Jenkins.Radicalism.
causal interpretation. A framing that was especially referring to 9/11 was that of “America under attack” used by CNN. This only comes as a confirmation of the fact that the civilian‐military distinction in no longer a viable one. 51–58 apud Amy Reynolds. pp. op. p. it also implicitly helps build the identity of the Other. This type of framing together with the stories of the survivors and the opinion of the officials that were broadcasted “helped transform an attack into an act of war”45 and helped build the collective identities. “To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text. 44 Robert Entman. The media and the official representation of the event lead to the creation of a certain collective American identity. moral evaluation. But although the framing of the event was made in the terms of an act of war. 1993. . mainly firefighters and policemen. “Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm” in Journal of Communication 43. of those who committed these “cowardly acts”. a country that was united and supported the president all the way.. p. to build a collective identity through the privileged narrative.. “’America under Attack’: CNN’s Verbal and Visual Framing of September 11”. mainly the American identity of an attacked nation whose voice is the voice of the survivals and of those who condemn these attacks and reassure the viewers that something will be done to prevent other attacks like this from happening. it also lead to the creation of an identity for those who committed those acts.44 The first type of framing is the visual one that refers to the collocations like “live”. Bailey. “breaking news” that appear on the screen. in such a way as to promote a particular problem. the prevalent images that were broadcasted were of civilians and of civilian intervention forces. Brooke Barnett. cit. and a president that was empowered to name the event and to establish a course of action. Michelle Brown. op. definition. By confirming the interpretation of the event as an “act of war” the media also justified the response in whatever form it may come. 45 Sara Silberstein. 77. 86. Frankie Y. and/or treatment recommendation for the item described”. in Steven Chermak. cit.84 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom interpretation that suits the viewers. the terrorists.
47 Nick Mansfield. in Stanley D. cit. whose actions cannot be justified by any means.questia. in physical defence of the self”. and thus all violence against him is justified. Interventionism. but fails.”47 By conferring an absolute difference to the one who has the potential of being like myself. the Other. 48 Mat Coleman.com/PM.2. 85 Creating identities: the rhetoric of evil The terrorist attacks of 9/11 brought the into the spotlight.46 The enemy poses such a threat to the way of life and the values of the self. The enemy remained hidden. By naming the attack an act of war. Thus. the enemy is cast outside the system of norms and values that belong to the self.qst?a=o&d=5023293750>] 6 March 2008. Brunn. 2007.. and Human Rightsʺ. Despite this. and against which America had a duty to fight. the enemy would be the one who rejects all the values that America stands for. This was identified as a main political distinction by Carl Schmitt in his Concept of Politics (1932). The official rhetoric can be resumed to the identifying of the Other as the “absolute evil”. p. 94. “Under the Black Light: Derrida.. p. because it is built as a stranger. War. and it mainly refers to “the attribution of alienness and difference to an enemy such that extreme conflict is possible. in Mosaic (Winnipeg) 40. the enemy has the potential to become a friend. The act of naming 9/11 sets forth a process of identity building trough which a Self and an Other are created and antagonized.”48 Because he is identified as being different the violence against him is justified. To be able to identify it. cit. 46 . 95. he is an absolute Other. Populism.. op. op. Schmitt argues that “to invoke some higher claim behind war is to make the enemy an ʹoutlaw of humanityʹ.Radicalism. America had an enemy. [http://www. “my enemy must. But what kind of an enemy? No state and no organization claimed the attacks. America first defined its own identity. although his face remained concealed at first. Naming 9/11 an act of war leads to embracing of a certain vision of politics that works by the friend/foe dichotomy. therefore. be someone who can attain the same level of civic meaning as me. “The Naming of ʹTerrorismʹ and Evil ʹOutlawsʹ: Geopolitical Place‐Making After 11 September”. thereby preparing the ground for war against this stranger. and because you can fight against him. This process Mat Coleman. Three Approaches. thus the enemy is a failed version of the self. but it is a potential that never becomes reality..
decisive action. cit. military and federal workers. 49 50 . p.52 The reaction to the act of war is a masculine reaction that should concentrate on firm. takes place: “where an American ʹweʹ has conveniently buried the multiple nationalities and identities of those trapped in the World Trade Center towers. and what were attacked were the very “way of life”. 11 September 2001. or in their offices. and thus the masculine military action becomes necessary to compensate for the weakness of the victim and to prevent any further attacks. The defining of 9/11 as an act of war determines the identification of America as a victim. Besides.. an attacked nation. p. The behavior of the attacker cannot be justified by any means. against the specter of ʹterrorismʹ”. in Sara Silberstein. in Deborah Staines. on the Ibidem. on a demonstration of might. 19. “Terror TV: Challenging the Terror Paradigm in Post‐9/11 U. 52 Stacy Takacs. vulnerability.50 in other words they were co‐citizens. 93. moms and dads. The Self and the Other are represented as occupying antagonist positions leading to a polarization of the virtues attributed to the two. As a consequence the enemy is one that rejects such values as democracy and freedom which are at the very core at the American culture. 19. were identified with America itself.. the Other is identified as posing a threat to the very existence of the Self thus justifying the act of self‐defense.86 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom of differentiation is fundamental for the identification process. George W.”. The discourse about the Other relies on the identification of the Other as the enemy who committed “an act of war” against us.S. The discursive construction of the American identity as a victim stands for its innocence. Entertainment Programing”. Giving the nation such characteristics as weakness. pp. op. p. friends and neighbors. and the victims became American citizens as the president himself made it clear: “The victims were in airplanes.49 On 9/11 the places of the terrorist attacks. because the victim is innocent. a process of Americanization of the victims. 144‐145. especially New York. the “freedom”51 and everything that America stands for. “Statement by the President in his Address to the Nation”. the targets of the attacks were national symbols. determine a feminine identification. businessmen and women. a symbol of prosperity and a symbol of security. op. the attack against them being an attack against all Americans. Moreover. Before this victimization. 51 Ibidem. cit. Bush. secretaries.
. 20‐21. 54 Michael Blain.. a scapegoat. 55 Ibidem.55 The enemy is represented by these villains. This determines the invocation of the homeland model for whose defense the “father” must do anything that is necessary. a fundamentalist Islamic. “an enemy that identifies himself as being Islamic. cit.. Interventionism. p. op.54 Victimization transforms the discourse about the Other in an “us‐them” dichotomy that “function to constitute identities that personify good and evil: villainous subjects of ‘negative power’ (=terrorists) who must be fought and destroyed. standing united as a victim. The nation is united: “This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. is used to justify the act of self‐ defense that can only be a masculine one. 59. 11 September 2001. The feminine‐masculine distinction. 87 exhibition of invulnerability and of the indestructibility of the nation. Three Approaches. in Sara Silberstein. looks for comfort. a father in which the nation. as opposed to a feminine response that would concentrate rather more on dialogue and compassion. pp. 58. Including the president’s identity is a masculine. even thought it does not necessarily represent the authentic George W. and we will do so this time”. in Deborah Staines. p.. op. “On the Genealogy of Terrorism”. Al Qaeda. and heroic subjects of “positive” power (=freedom‐fighters) who must kill and die in heroic struggles to defeat those evil powers”.Radicalism. Populism. cit. And for the nation to be at war.53 America is at war. America has stood down enemies before. an enemy was needed. 53 . patriarchal one. For a victim to exist there must also exist a villain. Bush. Victimization supposes “the personification and ritual destruction of those powers that threaten the survival of community”. “Statement by the President in his Address to the Nation”. one which is deeply embedded in western culture. This road from victimization to the assurance that America will prevail is typical for the victimization process that took place. The enemy was identified as being a terrorist network. the terrorists that committed such an abominable act against “us”.
The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom
Islam, and even though not every Muslim is ready to identify himself with it”.56 This identification of the terrorists as being the representatives of the true Islam determines a differentiation from America’s perspective between “good” and “bad” Muslims, between those who really represent the Muslim faith, and those who in its name committed these horrible acts of terror. In his Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People on September 20th, 2001 President George W. Bush makes this differentiation: “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. Itʹs practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them”.57 What takes place is a process of discursive identification of Muslims. There are good Muslims, and bad Muslims who in fact betray Islam. But we must keep in mind that “in the West, for instance, the image of the stereotypical terrorist contains strong Islamic and Arab features, and this long before 11 September. Islam has been constituted as the classical Other, encompassing people whose sense of identity and whose religious practices are so strange that they cannot be seen as anything else than a threat to the existing societal order”.58
Jacques Derrida, op. cit., p. 126. George W. Bush, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.”, 20 September 2001, in Sara Silberstein, op. cit., p. 24. 58 Roland Bleiker, op. cit.
Radicalism, Populism, Interventionism. Three Approaches...
Islam has been constituted along the centuries as the Other against which the West could differentiate itself. Some elements of the orientalist discourse that determine a simplification, a monolithic and textual approach of the Orient as being inferior, uncivilized, traditional are still visible in the western discourse about Islam, as Edward Said shows in his book Orientalism published in 1978.59 To this stereotyped image of Muslim terrorism, the picturing of Middle East conflicts by the media and popular culture has a significant contribution. Terrorism was identified as the enemy. But terrorism is rather difficult to define. Moreover, it is by no means a new phenomenon. Is this a new kind of terrorism? The main issue regarding terrorism is that what for someone is terrorism, for someone else is liberation fight. But we we must keep in mind that power selects the interpretation that suits her best. Because of the difficulties in defining terrorism the international community adopted an approached that involved the defining of terrorist acts and tactics, rather than defining terrorism itself.60 Before 9/11 terrorist acts were considered to be in fact criminal acts, but after 9/11 the American discourse defines them as acts of war. We can argue that terrorism is not the one that changed dramatically, although changes did take place, mainly an internationalization of terrorist attacks, but that what changed is the paradigm of how to address terrorism. This new paradigm attributed a global dimension to the “major event” that was 9/11, thus marking a discursive shift in issues regarding world order and global security. The naming of terrorism offers to the state an enemy against which to protect its citizens, and even more, it brings into talk the issue of evilness.61 America’s official discourse placed terrorism alongside other incarnations of evil that it had to fight against. Terrorists are “the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions – by abandoning
See Edward Said, op. cit. Brian Michael Jenkins, op. cit., p. 214. 61 Mat Coleman, op. cit., p. 88.
The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom
every value except the will to power‐they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism.”62 By this placing of terrorism on the side of evil, America is asserting its mission to assure the world that this ideology of evil will not prevail, and that the values that America stands for, values of good, freedom and prosperity will prevail once more. U.S.A.´s response to the act of war committed against it is to “protect freedom”, to “bring the evildoers to justice” to give reassurance that this is “an era of freedom, here and around the world”, America is in a battle in which “God is not neutral”, a perpetual battle between “freedom and fear, justice and cruelty”, a battle in which America was always on the good side.63 “Americans perceive themselves to be an exceptional nation, a chosen people, destined to extend the fruit of freedom to an enslaved world”.64 The dichotomist good vs. bad discourse leads to a simplification of the enemy’s portrait and to the reduction of its identity to a single dominant trait, that of evilness, the caricature of the enemy, depriving him of any legitimization or justification for his action. In the same time, America’s portrait is also simplified, and reduced to the image of the freedom and justice fighter that leads to a legitimization of its actions. Those who committed the act of war against America were first viewed as cowards, and then as mad men – a rational human being would not be capable of such a horrible act, thus making terrorists irrational beings. The next step was the adoption of the rhetoric of evil. Those who committed these terrorist acts are in fact an expression of evil, of what is “the very worst of human nature.”65 There can be no justification for these deeds, and the sole motivation is hatred for all that America stands for, this leads to “attributing evil motives to evil deeds”.66 This discursive placing of the
George W. Bush, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.” 20 September 2001, in Sara Silberstein, op. cit., p. 24. 63 Ibidem, p. 24. 64 Robert L. Ivie, op. cit., p. 125. 65 George W. Bush, “Statement by the President in his Address to the Nation”, 11 September 2001, in Sara Silberstein, op. cit., p. 20. 66 Robert L. Ivie, Oscar Giner, ʺHunting the Devil: Democracyʹs Rhetorical Impulse to War,ʺ in Presidential Studies Quarterly no. 37.4, 2008, [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5024109821], 3rd March 2008.
Radicalism, Populism, Interventionism. Three Approaches...
enemy on evil’s side makes a complex analysis of the motivation behind these terrorist acts impossible. These acts are most clearly the expression of insanity and evilness, and thus they are incomprehensible and unjustifiable. And so, what you cannot comprehend you cannot negotiate with. You cannot have a dialogue with evil, you can only exterminate it. The Other, whose vision of the world is based on violence an fanaticism, is far too different from us so that a dialogue and hence a compromise could exist. “On both sides of the divide, perpetrators of terror and counterterror draw upon a familiar vocabulary to reduce one another to demons that savagely massacre innocent people and thereby threaten to destroy all civilization. Each side marks the Other for eradication as subhuman, barbarian, insane, and wicked outlaws”.67 A mutual satanization of the enemy takes place. This justifies the war and the violence against it. The war on terror From the perspective of fighting against evil, a just war against terror can be argued for. The discursive placing of the other on evil’s side, and thus outside any possibilities of negotiation, leaves as an only option the declaring of a war on terror: to an act of war you respond on the same terms. Deterrence, the principle that worked so well during the Cold War, has now failed, as the 9/11 attacks have proven. To prevent any similar attacks a reaction is necessary, and this reaction is the starting of a “war on terror”. A declaration of war is a discursive act that uncovers a certain way of establishing meanings and a certain system of distinctions that make possible the existence of such a discursive act. We can even speak about a war paradigm when it comes to analyzing the possibility conditions of such a discursive act. Paradigms “function as an index to meaning, and therefore to the production and legitimation of related cultural forms and practices”.68 Even more, paradigms provide “conditions of possibility”69 for
Robert L. Ivie, op. cit., p. 135. Deborah Staines, op. cit., p. 5.
The war on terror is a global war. but also that the answer to that threat can be anywhere: “in the global war on terrorism the U. Borders cannot stop the infiltration of terrorist and cannot prevent terrorist attacks from taking place. Memo ´Re: Humane Treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees´.92 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom discursive acts and practices. p. op. the war on terror requires a global campaign. This is a type of war against enemies of freedom who take innocent civilians as targets for their despicable evil acts. When Is a War not a War? The Myth of the Global War on Terror. Placing terrorism into the war paradigm offers conditions of possibility for defining 9/11 as an act of war. This determines a new way of thinking about both national and individual security. February 7.. 2002. Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. Germany”.70 This is how President Bush describes the new paradigm of the war on terror. to localize the headquarters of these new technologies of aggression”. borders do not matter. [http://papers. for some time. 2‐ 3. the aggressor can be and strike anywhere. 69 70 . 71 Jacques Derrida. He indicated that included targeting persons on the streets of a peaceful city like Hamburg. sometimes with the direct support of States […]”.72 Ibidem. no ‘territorial’ designation is relevant. etc.cfm?abstract_id=893822] 12 May 2008. one in which groups with broad. p. “No geography. could target Al Qaeda suspects and kill them without warning wherever they are found. cit. p.ssrn. it means not only that the threat can be anywhere. as well as for declaring a “war on terror”. No place seems to be safe anymore.. Secretary of Defense. 72 Mary Ellen O’Connell.71 When it comes to terrorism.S. To the Vice President. 6. and even if some states can be pointed out as supporters of terrorist networks. pp. op. apud Deborah Steins. international reach commit horrific acts against innocent civilians. Furthermore. “The war against terrorism ushers in a new paradigm. 2. George W.com/sol3/papers. the enemy is not a sate. Attorney General. This global dimension of the terrorist threat extends to the ´War on Terror´. Secretary of State. cit. Bush. 113. but a terrorist network with global reach.
. This is the worldʹs fight. 96. Mat Coleman. just Americaʹs fight. This allows for the judging of terrorists in war tribunals instead of in civilian ones. the war against it is not just America’s. cit. The state is the only one that can claim the monopoly of the legitimate use of force. op. What are they? Soldiers or criminals? Thinking of terrorism in terms of the war paradigm leads to the identification of the terrorist as soldiers. And what is at stake is not just Americaʹs freedom. . distinction that makes possible a war on terror. But how must these “prisoners” be treated? Does the Geneva Convention concerning the treatment of prisoners of war apply to them or not? “Arguing that these ʹcommitted terroristsʹ are not state agents but extraordinarily unusual nonstate actors whose very being permanently threatens the system of sovereign states. Three Approaches. Populism. America is just one freedom fighter that must set an example to the rest of the world in the war against terrorism.73 This distinction between war – a legitimate form of violence. but it is a war of the entire free and civilized world. and thus that the prisoners are not covered under the terms of the Geneva Convention”. p.Radicalism. “This is not. 93 At the basis of this distinction between war and terrorism. Because of the discursive identification of the enemy with evil itself. lays the differences between legitimate and illegitimate violence. however. this fact relying on the concept of sovereignty: “from this claim that emerges the moral distinction between war (a legitimate act of violence perpetuated by a state) and terrorism (an illegitimate use of violence perpetuated by a non‐state actor)”... has important consequences on the identity of the terrorists. op. 74 the Bush administration considered some more or less abusive interrogation practices to be fully justified. and terrorism – an illegitimate form of violence. Interventionism. cit. This is civilizationʹs 73 74 Roland Bleiker.
fighting terrorism. some states (the ʹaxis of evilʹ) or those networks of terrorists which operate across state lines”. In the battle between good and evil there can be no middle ground. either because they support terrorist networks – Afghanistan. new enemies were created. Bush. or because they posses weapons of mass destruction – Iraq. 3. This response takes the form of some expression of the war paradigm in which terrorism is addressed after 9/11. op. D. while other states are considered to be outlaws. cit.75 The war against terrorism is a war in the name of freedom. And there can be no neutral ground.94 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom fight. or you are with the terrorists”. 77 Stanley D. progress and tolerance.S. p. 25. in Sara Silberstein.. 25. This simplistic distinction between one side and the other has consequences when it comes to designating friends and enemies. Brunn. is perceived with such acuteness that a response is urgently needed. 76 Ibidem. The enemy is discursively placed as being an enemy of these values. 75 . “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People. But these values are beyond negotiation and compromise. […] It is expressed by George W. Department of Homeland Security. states that are dealing with the problem of home terrorism and have a drastic policy toward it.77 The threat posed by terrorism.”. tolerance and freedom”. and the other supporting it – had the following consequence: “former global enemies became friends. p. This global polarization of sides – one. cit. Either you are with us. a discursive construction.76 In the fight against evil there is no room for disagreement and critique. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism.C. 20 September 2001. now has a decision to make. Thus. declaring that they support by all means the war on terror. Expressions of the war on terror can be “visible in the bureaucracy of newly formed government bodies such as the U.. Washington. are America’s friends an allies. in every region. United States Capitol. op. This is why the world is divided into those who are on America’s side and those who oppose America and are thus on the terrorist’s side: “Every nation. as long as they supported a ʹwar on terrorismʹ. p.
80 Saul Newman. ”Terrible Terror: Security. 86.81 In a democratic suzerain state.78 Regarding internal affairs in the US. Because terrorist can be anywhere. 156. cit. op. Michael P. 81 Ibidem. p.. security became the main concern of the government.. trough which terrorism is fought even at the price of giving the government the power to suspend certain fundamental citizen’s rights. Fighting terrorism incorporates also an economic dimension. pp. Levine. including among us. 6‐7. p. Interventionism. the government needed the appropriate tools to expose them and bring them to justice..80 The threat is perceived as omnipresent and thus special security measures are needed: “’Western democracies’ now characterize themselves as being under a state of siege.. Populism. economic security is needed: “Once we have funded our national security and our homeland security. 86. Treating terrorism as a crime would not have made possible the invocation of a state of siege. Ivie. cit. threaten everywhere. Three Approaches. op. This is possible by invoking a “state of siege”. the state of siege is closely linked to the state of war. op.Radicalism.79 The clearest expression of this patriotism is the so called PATRIOT ACT (The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act). A first measure taken in order to increase homeland security was the tightening of border and airport control. 78 79 . Defining terrorist attacks as acts of war and fitting them into a war paradigm determines a “militarization of political life (as well as a politicization of the military) and a co‐extensiveness between war and politics”. p. 95 the large military engagements of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)”. Security would become the underlying principle of every action of the government. The fragile balance between the suzerain power that grants security to its citizens and their individual rights and freedom can be disturbed only when something threatens the existence of the state that is the guarantor of this balance. The polarization between good and evil means that there is no room for dissent and “patriotism was reduced to inflexible conformity”. cit.. Violence and Democracy in the War on Terrorism” in Deborah Staines. To be able to carry this fight. Robert L. externally and internally by the specter of terrorism”. Deborah Staines.
“Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People. This intervention however was focused on “eliminating its most immediate means and agents”. D. cit.84 The intervention in Afghanistan was an act of self‐defense. and the Taliban regime.”. United States Capitol. in Sara Silberstein. Bush. Bush. and Political Struggles. cit. p. p. but merely its beginning: “Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Washington. Something had to be done to respond to the act of war that was committed against America.. “the Bush administration declared war on Afghanistan and at the same time declared that the United States was not at war with the Afghan people”. But this intervention. p. “President Delivers State of Union Address”.83 The declared purpose of the intervention was eliminating the Al‐Qaeda headquarters in Afghanistan. op. but a lengthy campaign. Democracy. Defending Ideals: War. But this intervention was in fact a new sort of war. 151. 156. 85 George W. 20 September 2001. Ivie. apud Robert L.. 2004.. New York: Routledge. 22. but a terrorist network of global reach. op. op. 84 Drucilla Cornell. 25. although victorious did not mark the end of the war on terror. cit.C.96 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom the final great priority for my budget is economic security for the American people”. 82 . and naming 9/11 an act of war made possible the invocation of a right to self‐defense and the starting of an armed intervention in Afghanistan. p. Addressing terrorism in the war paradigm.82 A first international expression of the war on terror was the intervention in Afghanistan in October 2001. because the target was not the afghan state itself. as well as the overthrowing of the Taliban regime that supported this terrorist network. unlike any other we have ever seen”. 83 Robert L. Ivie. Americans should not expect one battle.85 George W.
Terrorists and rogue states are but different representations of the same evil. 20 May 2008. being stateless. including among ourselves.Radicalism. Interventionism. A Saul Newman. National Security Strategy 2002. Three Approaches.87 Against such an enemy who is hard to pinpoint. The war on terror has “a permanent and indefinite character”. Another was represented by the so called rogue states and their weapons of mass destruction. Besides. p. p.whitehouse. Michael P.. and that even after the collapse of the USSR did not seem to be obsolete. Levine. can be anywhere. it rather involves a campaign that can last for an indefinite period of time. What is a terrorist threat? First of all.pdf]. 97 Operation Iraqi Freedom From self‐defense to preemptive strike: rogue states and the “axis of evil” The war in Afghanistan represented a first materialization of the “war on terror”.. The two threats are merged into a single one. Populism. 86. and eliminating him involves more than a singular military action. it is a threat that cannot be contained or deterred. These two principles that worked so well during the Cold War. But a victory in Afghanistan. as 9/11 has showed. the destroying of the Taliban headquarters and the overthrowing of the Taliban regime are but a first step in this global war on terror. and who is discursively identified as irrational. Terrorism cannot be deterred: “Traditional concepts of deterrence will not work against a terrorist enemy whose avowed tactics are wanton destruction and the targeting of innocents. a concept like deterrence that relies on a rational calculus of the enemy’s as well as one self’s military capacities cannot work.. The terrorist thereat determined a new assessment of security and of the right to self‐defense. [http://www. are no longer working. whose so‐called soldiers seek martyrdom in death and whose most potent protection is statelessness”.86 meaning that the enemy can be anywhere. op. The problem that America is facing is how to deal with an enemy that cannot be deterred? How to contain an enemy that. 15.gov/nsc/nss/2002/nss. terrorism was but one manifestation of evil that America had to deal with. cit. 86 87 .
“The devil. National Security Strategy. and which you cannot deter or contain: “deterrence based only upon the threat of retaliation is less likely to work against leaders of rogue states more willing to take risks. 88 89 . p. 13.[…] are determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction. The possibility that terrorist could acquire more deadly weapons from the so called rogue states. Oscar Giner. along with other advanced military technology.89 The issue of nuclear weapons proliferation is thus linked to the issue of terrorism. and was to be address in the war on terror paradigm. to be used as threats Robert L. has had a long and notable history in national dramas playing the part of the enemy”. would now be taken into account.98 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom demonizing process of both the terrorists and the rogue states takes place. and the wealth of their nations”. but after this unprecedented terrorist attack. as materializations of evil. 90 Ibidem.88 Fighting this devil‐enemy reaffirms America’s missionarism. even weak states and small groups could attain a catastrophic power to strike great nations”. On 9/11 terrorists have proved their capacity to carry forth such a devastating attack against the sole superpower of the world. was not able to protect itself from such an attack. which. Ivie. 15. op. as an essential antagonist in the nationʹs cosmology. cit. When the spread of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons. despite its military capability and its secret services.90 These rogue sates did not appear just after 9/11. the threat posed by rogue states was merged with the terrorist threat. with which you cannot negotiate. these rogue states are defined as sharing some common features although different in other regards: “brutalize their own people […] display no regard for international law. gambling with the lives of their people. But what is a rogue state? First of all. along with ballistic missile technology—when that occurs. In the National Security Strategy 2002. these states are discursively positioned on the same side as the terrorists. p. “The gravest danger to freedom lies at the crossroads of radicalism and technology.
which Japan joined later on. 61. who. Iraq and North Korea. 99 or offensively to achieve the aggressive designs of these regimes. The “axis of evil” metaphor is not a new one. The usage of the collocation “axis of evil” in the State of the Union Address to Congress on January 22nd 2002 constitutes a “restructuring of the American understanding of the ’War on Terror’”.92 There is a redefinition of the threat to security. rogue states share the same hatred for all that America and its allies stand for. Populism. The Middle East Journal no.91 There is an “us – them” dichotomization: the United States – rogue states. for fundamental human values. 2007. respect for international law. It was first used in the 30´s.. and reject basic human values and hate the United States and everything for which it stands”. is irrational. let us not forget that terrorists too hate America and all for what it stands. Furthermore. the powers on the Axis remained as being an incarnation of evil. threat that no longer limits itself to Al‐Qaeda. cannot be deterred and its sole reason for action is hatred. Three Approaches. be it terrorist network or rogue regime. Bonham. This set of ‘positive’ values are on the other hand totally disregarded and hated by the Other. Especially three states were considered as posing a major threat to America’s security and were designated as constituting a so called “axis of evil”: Iran. The US stand for a certain set of ‘positive’ values like respect for its people. Daniel Heradstveit. the support that rogue states offer to various terrorist networks only comes as a confirmation of their vileness and for the fact that terrorism and these regimes are but two different materialization of the same evil.3. and the main “implication is that something 91 92 National Security Strategy 2002. It is clear that this hatred they share will determine the two incarnations of evil to work together. and it leads to the building of a monolithic image of the enemy. sponsor terrorism around the globe. because. p.. Interventionism. From this point of view. In the collective memory following the Second World War. p.Radicalism. “What the Axis of Evil Metaphor Did to Iran”. . referring initially to the alliance between Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. 3. Matthew G. 14. Using the metaphor of absolute evil makes the merging of the two threats much easier. but also incorporates a number of states that are considered to be an easy source of weapons of mass destruction for terrorists.
fighting against a new reincarnation of Evil.100 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom must be done about them”. (ed. defining an ‘enemy’…consensus is by necessity based upon acts of exclusion”. The dichotomist discourse situates America and its allies on Good’s side. that obviously places [President Bush] in the axis of good. In Chantal Mouffe’s words: “to construct a ‘we’. and also means that anyone who disagrees with the policies he is advocating is placed on the other side”. that is a metaphor that is capable of giving us a new view of the world”94 by drawing on a set of perceptions that belong to the collective memory. Thus. The metaphor has consequences on perceiving the relations between the states that make up this axis. p. cit. Ibidem. Ivie. There is an “axis of evil” that is a reincarnation of the Berlin‐Rome‐Tokyo axis.com/] apud Robert L. 1991. 1. or terrorist attacks. Identifying the enemy is closely linked to the identification process of the Self.95 Even though these three states do not make up an alliance in the proper sense of the word.93 Defining an ‘axis of evil’ is on the same line of thinking as the discursive positioning of terrorism as the heir of all the murderous and totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. 96 Laurie Goodstein. Iran and Iraq are more that isolated materializations of evil. p. New York Times. „Democratic Citizenship and Political Community” in Miami Theory Collective. be it weapons of mass destruction proliferation..96 Those who fight the axis of evil are necessarily on good’s side. protecting civilization’s values. 160. 93 94 .nytimes. p. they are discursively positioned in such an alliance of evil that must be confronted. 2003. The “axis of evil” is a “creative metaphor. 97 Chantal Mouffe. op. “A President Puts His Faith in Providence”. Those who are on evil’s side are responsible for all its manifestations. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. North Korea. 2. And this “axis of evil” metaphor also leads to the polarization of the world into two sides: “If there is an axis of evil.). 6. [http://www. it must be distinguished from a ‘they’ and that means establishing a frontier. 95 Ibidem. They are allies. They make up a “conspiracy of evil”. p. Community at Loose End.97 Ibidem. February 9.
according to which this right can be invoked only after an attack has taken place.98 These dichotomies are defined as “floating or empty signifiers”. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. p. and its action legitimate.cfm?abstract_id=397601].. cit. Chantal Mouffe. rational/irrational.100 They get their significance during the identification process and have a different meaning for the sides in conflict. if necessary. op. in Nico Carpentier (ed. 1985. The first series refers to characteristics of the Self and of the enemy: good/bad. 102 Dietrich Murswiek.org/stable/2082891]. 100 Nico Carpentier.com/sol3/papers. . 78. p. This was a strong reading of the right to self‐defense. necessary/unnecessary. 15. just/unjust. [http://papers. Op.. The American Political Science Review. 4. Moreover. 2 June 2008. apud Romand Coles.”102 but these p. limited effects/major effects. A soft reading of this right says that “under certain circumstances. the other series refers to the actions of the Self and those of the enemy: legitimate/illegitimate.jstor.. Trauma. and Conflict: Cultural Studies Perspectives on War. Three Approaches. 99 Ernesto Laclau. 101 National Security Strategy 2002. p. they can be claimed by both sides to define theirs and their enemy’s identity: always the Self will be good. act preemptively”. this becomes admissible even before an enemy has fired the first shot or sent his troops across the border. 2007. the United States will. p. p. „Introduction: Strengthening Cultural War Studies”. 378.. 6. Interventionism. unjust and its action illegitimate.ssrn. 4. „Liberty. No. p. last resort/provocative. just.99 meaning that these signifiers do not have a fixed meaning. 101 Nico Carpentier identifies a series of dichotomies that play a very important role in the process of identification. Equality. apud Nico Carpentier. Vol.). London: Verso. [http://www. and invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime and to destroy what is could of Al‐Qaeda. 1996. while the enemy will be evil. innocent/guilty. The American Strategy of Preemptive War and International Law. cit. Receptive Generosity: Neo‐Nietzschean Reflections on the Ethics and Politics of Coalition”. pp. 2. The right to self‐defense that was invoked in order to attack Afghanistan would be transformed into a right to preemptive strike. 3 March 2008. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholary Publishing.112‐113.101 The USA invoked the right to self defense following the 9/11 act of war. but are articulated during the conflict. civilised/barbarian. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics.Radicalism. Populism. 98 Nico Carpentier. 90. This would be the new security strategy of the US: “To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries. 4. Culture.
The threat is imminent because the enemy’s wanton purpose is destruction. The threat is imminent and America must not wait to be attacked once more. pushed into the sphere of the irrational and outside any possibility of dialogue. ʺPreemption and Just War: Considering the Case of Iraq. [http://www.questia. self‐defense before the actual attack took place is legitimate. the threat posed by terrorist networks and rogue regimes was discursively constructed so that is was perceived as an imminent threat to America’s security. pp. The price of inaction was considered to be too high. 2004. op. “in the case of ´rogue states´. mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction”. and thus a preemptive strike against them would be justified. 105 Dietrich Murswiek. The more different the Other is from us. A first step in this direction was the 9/11 analogy: “As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11. 15. 34.com/PM. only if there is proof of an imminent threat to the state in case.ʺ in Parameters no. Mainly.102 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom circumstances must be understood in a narrow sense. the criterion of an imminent threat is now supposedly to be understood as the mere possibility that these might use weapons of mass destruction at some future point”. the more imminent is the threat he posses. cit. A good example can be considered the attack launched by Israel against Egypt in 1967.qst?a=o&d=5008625815]. 2001. 104 National Security Strategy 2002. 11‐12. when the Egyptian tanks were being positioned at the border with Israel. . p. the elimination of the terrorist threat was to be pursued at any costs. and that was enough to change the security discourse..104 Considering the scale of these attacks and the fact that it was not foreseen or prevented.103 In the war on terror. A first strike did take place. 3 March 2008. to determine the abandoning of principles like containment and deterrence and to argue in favor of 103 Franklin Eric Wester.4. Thus.105 To remain idle and to react only after an attack has taken place is no longer a viable option after 9/11.
especially considering that indolence could lead to a new 9/11. Three Approaches. because you can forsee the possibility of its abuse. Iraq was discursively constituted as an imminent threat based upon two arguments: possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ties with Al‐Qaeda: “the justification for going to war in Iraq is thus built on the recurring closeness and imminence of danger facing the American people. From the US’s perspective. the United States cannot remain idle while dangers gather”. which this time stems from the alleged possession of WMD by the 106 107 National Security Strategy 2002. p. the US were able to invoke the right to preemptive action.Radicalism. but at the same time it constitutes a threat to the existence of the Self. 15. Dialogue or negotiation were considered to be impossible with a ruler that was demonized and discursively placed beyond reason and that could thus not be deterred or contained. the role of protector of the civilized world and its values from the forces of evil. 15.. Iraq: casus belli One of the rogue regimes that made up the ‘axis of evil’ that was identified as the greatest threat of all was Iraq.107 But the terrorist threat is one that the US must address. allows it to use preemptive strike to deal with this imminent threat.106 Despite all the critics and by discursively constructing the terrorist – rogue regimes as an imminent threat. Interventionism. nor should nations use preemption as a pretext for aggression”. The Other is dual in nature: its existence is compulsory for the identification of the Self. Populism. 103 preemptive action: “in an age where the enemies of civilization openly and actively seek the world’s most destructive technologies. the establishing of a new international norm of preemptive defense is a dangerous thing. . p. A first preemptive strike will take place against Iraq. The exceptional role that it has taken onto itself. National Security Strategy 2002.. The only option to avoid another 9/11 is to act now. President Bush made a declaration considering this: “The United States will not use force in all cases to preempt emerging threats.
The war on terror.108 After 9/11 the nature of the threat to security changed. the 9/11 analogy plays an important role. 22. Ivie. op.109 After the war in Afghanistan. cit. at least. p.110 The possibility that the weapons of mass destruction owned by Saddam could fall in the hands of terrorists transformed Iraq into a terrorist 108 Piotr Cap. cit. but these attacks lead to a reconsideration of the WMD threat and its integration into the war on terror discourse: “the Bush administration’s post‐9/11 case for war was a function of suddenly perceiving the presence of evil instead of any significant change or upsurge in Iraq’s status as a threat to world peace”. Legitimisation in Political Discourse: A Cross‐Disciplinary Perspective on the Modern US War Rhetoric. In constructing the Iraqi threat. which is ultimately a battle between good and evil. as far as I am concerned. that oceans would protect us from his type of terror. September the 11th changed the strategic thinking. for how to protect our country. Bush. that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home”. It used to be that we could think that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein. Although the link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 is not very clear. 175. In the words of George W. September the 11th should say to the American people that we are now a battlefield. 110 George W.. and it was now represented by the merging of two threats: terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. p. this was a major argument in the cassus belli for Iraq. 2006. supposes the elimination of these incarnations of evil. by easy access to these weapons for terrorist groups such as Al‐Qaeda”. the new ‘face of evil’ was Saddam Hussein.. consequentially. 109 Robert L. p. . Bush: “Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation.104 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom Iraqi regime and. apud Piotr Cap. “Address at the National Press Conference” 6 March 2003. 9/11 did not create the proliferation of WMD threat and thus neither the Iraqi threat. op. 3. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
113 Ibidem. Proximization involves the defining of an identity of the Self that is threatened by the Other. so that an armed intervention to overthrow Saddam Hussein would be justified.. “A historic date – September 11th. thus threatening the very existence of the Self. cit. used to define the terrorist threat. 66. p. they gave it an imminent dimension. although the link between Saddam and 9/11 cannot be undoubtedly proven. Interventionism. to those making up the retrospective basis for the analogy”. 67.113 George W. 112 Cap. Populism. The 9/11 analogy determines the necessity of self‐defense: “We learned a lesson: the dangers of our time must be confronted actively and forcefully.112 The interpretation of the current situation is made through the prism of the 9/11 events. p. “American Enterprise Institute. 105 threat. using the notion of proximization which he defines as incorporating three axes: spatial. p.. and to legitimize the use of force against him. 79. temporal and axiological. Temporal proximization refers to a certain way of interpreting the consequences of past events so that it determines the central character of the current situation for the evolution of the public’s expectations and wishes.111 Thus. The notion of proximization is useful in understanding the process of the discursive identification of the Self and the Other. whose identity is established according to a dynamics on the three axes that could lead to a collision of the Other with the Self. The rhetoric of evil. op. op. Piotr Cap analyses the American legitimization discourse of the Iraq intervention. 2001 – is implicitly imposed to serve as an anchor for legitimization of the current actions which are construed as if they were undertaken in circumstances similar. although the September the 11th attacks did not create the Iraqi treat. Bush. Washington DC” 26 February 2003 apud Piotr Cap. before we see them again in our skies and our cities”. or even identical. Piotr. The 9/11 analogy works inside of what Piotr Cap calls temporal proximization. cit. Three Approaches. 111 ... was extended to encompass the ’axis of evil’ to demonize Saddam Hussein and his regime.Radicalism.
cit. 162. The violations of human right were just one more element to confirm the rogue nature of the regime. Saddam is discursively transformed into a villain: “If this is not evil. discursively situated on evil’s side. The tolerant attitude toward Iraq is compared to the appeasement policy towards Hitler that did nothing too stop the outbreak of the Second World War. op. cit. 116 George W. 115 Thomas M. cannot be dealt with by rational means.. “State of the Union Address” 28 January 2003 apud Robert L. Iraq is served notice with [UN] resolutions.. Bush.115 After 9/11 this continuous refusal of Saddam to disarm can no longer be tolerated. and it is not an option”. ʺJust War. Bush.114 During these 12 years. Ivie.. op. Iraq did not act as was expected of him by the international community: it refused to disarm and to respect the UN resolutions concerning it. then evil has no meaning”. 162. Iraq’s attitude towards international law showed nothing but contempt: “In a repeating pattern. 114 . cit. although the repeated human rights violations were used as part of the argument in favor of the intervention in Iraq.org/viewMedia.106 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom Defining Iraq as a rogue regime has its roots in the way Iraq´s behavior was defined prior to 9/11: “The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm”. and will only be emphasized after the intervention was well on its way. p. agrees to them.php/prmTemplateID/8/prmID/867] apud Franklin Eric Wester. There is no longer a credible way to envision any peaceful road to Iraqi disarmament”. 162.carnegiecouncil. [http://www. p..116 This dictator. Nichols. But. and Saddam’s disdain for any regime of international law. p. these were not considered to be the main casus belli. “State of the Union Address” 28 January 2003 apud Robert L.. The preferred identification of Saddam was that of a ‘mad man’ that cannot be deterred or contained: “Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy. 117 Ibidem. and its refusal to George W. Ivie. Op.117 The most powerful argument for the intervention was that of the possession of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq. and then breaks them. Not Preventionʺ. In his deeds he only cares about his own whims. Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs 2004.
Radicalism, Populism, Interventionism. Three Approaches...
disarm. The collocation ‘weapons of mass destruction’ implies “conflating nuclear, chemical and biological weapons”118 making it much easier for the Bush administration to use the ‘weapons of mass destruction argument’ especially considering the fact that there was clear evidence that Saddam has used chemical and biological weapons: “This dictator, who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons, has already used them on villages leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured”.119 Collocations like ‘the world’s most dangerous weapons’ or ‘weapons of mass destruction’ were used without distinguishing between the type of weapons ‐ chemical, biological, nuclear, and without any reference to the means of delivering these weapons: the fact that Saddam used them against his own people does not mean that he has the capability to launch them against the US for example. But on the other hand, 9/11 proved that distance or the nature of the weapon is irrelevant. The greatest threat was however considered to be the possibility that Saddam Hussein had reconstructed his nuclear weapons program. A very disputed argument used by President Bush to confirm the existence of a nuclear program in Iraq, was the claim that: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently bought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”.120 This claim that Saddam bought uranium from Niger, was investigated before 2002, and was found out to be groundless.121 But still the argument of a nuclear program going on in Iraq was not abandoned and it constituted along with the presupposed link between Saddam and Al‐ Qaeda, one of the main argument for the intervention. According to Piotr Cap, what is at work here is the logic of spatial proximizatin that determines a movement closer to each other of the Self and the Other, and that leads to a transcendence of the physical distance:
James P. Pfiffner, “Did President Bush Mislead the Country in His Arguments for War with Iraq?”, in Presidential Studies Quarterly no. 34, 1, 2004, p. 29. 119 George W. Bush, “State of the Union Address” 28 January 2003 apud Robert L. Ivie, op. cit., p. 162. 120 George W. Bush, “State of the Union Address”, 28 January 2003 apud James P. Pfiffner, op. cit., p. 30. 121 Sara Silberstein, op. cit., p. 172.
The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom
“the phrase ‘’possessed WMD’, by being used repeatedly in the context of the Iraqi terrorist connections, has come to mean ‘possessed WMD capable of impacting the US’”122 The only way to assure Iraq’s disarment, and to eliminate the Iraqi threat, is, according to the US, a regime change, because the rogue nature of this regime makes any dialogue or any peaceful attempt at disarming Iraq, futile: “regime change was a way, not an end, and the end of a disarmed Iraq was determined by the Bush Administration to be achievable only by regime change”.123 Possession of weapons of mass destruction and links to Al‐Qaeda were the two main arguments that transformed Iraq into a terrorist threat. This, along with the 9/11 analogy and the demonizing of Saddam contributed to the transformation of the Iraqi threat into a terrorist threat that had to be dealt with in the ‘war on terror‘ paradigm. This is why President Bush could say that: “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001”.124 TV war The war on terror is a new kind of war that involves new ways of fighting. The Iraq intervention fits into the ‘’war on terror’ paradigm, not only regarding the case for war, but also regarding the means of war. First of all this is not a war against the Iraqi people, but one against Saddam Hussein’s regime: “tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: your enemy is not surrounding your country; your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation”125
Piotr Cap, op. cit., p. 45. Franklin Eric Wester, op. cit. 124 George W. Bush, May 1, 2003 apud James P. Pfiffner, op. cit., p. 27 125 George W. Bush, “State of the Union Address”, 28 January 2003, apud Robert L. Ivie, op. cit., p. 162.
Radicalism, Populism, Interventionism. Three Approaches...
This is why the intervention will be called ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’; the rogue regime, and not the Iraqi people was the enemy that the US had to fight against. The Iraqi people are but a victim of this regime that tests its dangerous weapons on them. This clear distinction between the regime that must be overthrown and the people that are in fact victims makes this intervention seem like an operation of great, even surgical precision. Defining the operation in terms of precision would transform it into “one of the swiftest and most humane military campaign in history”.126 The language used for referring to the war is very technical, this creating the image of a “clean war”. The technical‐strategic language became the most accepted and the most credible and reasonable way to refer to security problems, determining a hygienization of the war image by using collocations like ‘clean bombs’, ‘collateral damage’, and keeping a safe distance from the grotesque reality of the conflict.127 This is not a classic war; it is in fact a series of surgical strikes aimed at a rogue regime in order to overthrow it. The weapons used buy the Coalition are deadly accurate. This is a war that also has as its purpose the liberation of the Iraqi people. Thus the representation as a clean war is essential. Besides, the credibility of the intervention must be maintained. The means must match the end to make this war for disarming Iraq a just war. Before the intervention began, the ‘intelligent’ US weapons were highly mediatized. These weapons allowed to, at least in theory, “target only the government and its loyal forces without devastating the cities and causing thousands of civilian casualties”.128 This was a new way of waging war. These surgical strikes would first hit Baghdad in order to ‘shock and awe’ the enemy. “The whole purpose was to intimidate, not devastate, to stun the enemy, turning its soldiers and leaders into glassy‐eyed survivors, ready to surrender. That success would limit both civilian and military casualties and contain the destruction of property”.129
George W. Bush, October 7, 2003 apud Piotr Cap, op. cit., p. 44. Roland Bleiker, op. cit. 128 Paul Rutherford, Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Marketing the War Against Irak, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004, p. 56. 129 Ibidem, p. 53.
This was also due to the discursive construction of Iraq as a real and imminent threat. are often combined into an ‘infotainment’ that shows the war as a spectacle to millions of viewers: “television cannot but turn war into a spectacle and a story that employs the styles of popular culture”134 to fashion the war information transmission. p. the Iraqi people were represented as having a welcoming attitude towards the coalition forces. 132 Ibidem. The irrational nature of the regime meant that it was always possible that in a desperate act Saddam would use his dreadful weapons against the coalition forces. a surgical intervention to overthrow it would face no resistance from the Iraqi people. 80. Ibidem. Because Saddam’s regime was also an enemy of its own people. the images and the sounds that made of war a live spectacle”. the informative and the entertainment one. But at the same time. mainly due to the fact that most journalists were embedded with the coalition forces. You could now experience war as it was happening”. The war broadcast Ibidem. p. Not only this. p. because this was the first ‘live war’ ever to be showed on TV: “a war brought live and brought constantly into the living rooms and bedrooms of the whole world via television. highly trained and equipped. p. p. The TV war was a clean war: “the news downplayed the issue of civilian casualties and the damage to Baghdad”. Iraq was construed as credible enemy by invoking its possession of weapons of mass destruction. 108.132 From all the media channels only the TV could “deliver the experience. 130 131 . but also. 66. 134 Ibidem. the war was a TV war. The role of mass‐media in representing the evolution of the conflict was a very important one. the two dimensions of media representation. In all this.110 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom The operation would be a demonstration of might but also of precision and of good intentions towards the Iraqi people.130 For the American public. the Iraqi Republican Guard was frequently described as an elite military force. 79. but not only.131 The role of the mass‐media was even greater. 133 Ibidem.133 In representing the war. 100.
that harked back to the legends of the Indian wars”. the phallic dimension is best visible in the “depictions of American weaponry. the sleek fighters.Radicalism. 174. What helped construing this representation were elements of popular culture and especially elements of a western ‘war mythology’.136 This media representation of the war was based o a certain type of journalism: embedded journalism which in exchange for loosing some of its 135 136 Ibidem. In the televised representation of war. the phallic missiles. 68. comradeship. . especially television. nineteen years old.135 Mass‐media. heroism. p. The gender discourse in western society is one that considers the war as an exclusively masculine thing. in a short a natural for retelling of that old yarn. blond. tragedy. Three Approaches. transforming the informational content into a story with such elements as adventure. the story of Jessica Lynch is only restating the gendered representation of war in western society. Populism. Although the feminine element is also present: there are women soldiers. an American victim saved by the heroics of her comrades. the really big bombs”. 111 follows the patterns of entertainment broadcast. It follows certain patterns that turn it into a hybrid genre similar to the movie genre. It can be easily compared to the Hollywood movie Saving Private Ryan because it had all the ingredients for a typical hollywoodian representation of military operations: it had heroism. All elements were present in Jessica Lynch’s case: “Private Lynch was young. there is no feminine dimension of the war that is only a restatement of the macho masculine style. attractive. Meanwhile.. the impressive Abrams tanks. action. and a woman. Bearing this in mind. A good example is the way the saving of Private Jessica Lynch was shown on TV. p. the captivity narrative. Interventionism. had a fare share in creating an image of the war as an adventure with hero‐soldiers sent to disarm a demonic tyrant that tortures his own people. mystery. the victim typology is preferably a feminine typology. adventure. There is also a phallic dimension to this extremely masculine war. Ibidem.. the hero being a typology based on the masculine ideal of force and courage.
Baldwin.137 Although it is not an entirely new type of journalism.qst?a=o&d=5013910771].138 the scale it reached during Operation Iraqi Freedom was unprecedented: more than 600 American and foreign journalists139 were embedded with the coalition troops.. p. Michael M. James P.140 But the war was not perceived in the same way all across the globe. 140 Paul Rutherford. dating to the Civil War”. The same product could have different significations in different parts of the world. but this was an American perspective mostly. Cristopher Perrine. Dwaine Roberts. Haigh. Humanitarian Intervention? Representing and Identifying the Other The main argument for the intervention in Iraq was not humanitarian in nature. Rick E. the generals and the journalists were not only at peace but locked into a symbiotic relationship: the military delivered the show and the media promoted it to the public”. 77.. apud Paul Rutherford. Greg Kuntz.questia. The Self – Other identification was exactly the opposite of the western one. 138 Michael Pfau. op. Richard Romero. 2 June 2008. Dawn Dearden. “Embedding journalists with the troops has produced its desired effect. creating a feeling of thereness that many an action‐movie director would envy”. The relation between the journalist and the military unit that embedded him led to some sort of symbiosis between the troops and the journalists: “Now. ʺEmbedded Reporting during the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq: How the Embedding of Journalists Affects Television News Reports. Breitenfeldt. Joel Cesar. the coalition forces were viewed as invading and aggressive. p. [http://www. The Village Voice. 139 Ibidem. “the practice of embedding journalists in military units has a long history. Lindsay Logsdon. that became thus public. rather than as a threat Richard Goldstein. Far from being considered liberation troops.112 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom objectiveness can bring to the public exclusive war images.4. 26 March – 1st April 2003. The embedding of such a large number of journalists determined the creation of a monolithic image of the war.ʺ in Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media no. but was mainly determined by the identification of the Iraqi regime as a threat to international security. Edgar Montalvo. 2005. 86. 137 . cit. A quite opposite representation from that predominant in the West was the one offered by several Arab televisions that showed a much ‘dirtier’ face of the war. The journalists had access to the war. cit. 49. op.com/PM.
. op. nor a temporal phenomenon. Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 141 142 Michael Blain. Paul Heinbecker. This proximization is neither a physical..141 But this argument is not as much about the human rights violations per se and the prejudices to the Iraqi people. p. As long as the weapons of mass destruction argument is the main argument for the intervention. especially those regarding human rights. p. Populism. But the humanitarian argument was not absent from the justification and the legitimization of the war. “The use of innocent victims (e. 63. What needed to be protected in this was the. is that: “while the interventions in Kosovo and East Timor were all about protecting the vulnerable other.Radicalism. in Afghanistan and Iraq. as they are to prove that there is a precedent. 181. Three Approaches. Interventionism. Between humanitarian interventions and the two interventions of the ‘war on terror’ military campaign the main difference in the words of the Canadian UN ambassador. Jennifer M.).g. and that Saddam had used his dreadful weapons before. 2004. Welsh (ed. cit. Welsh. and is capable of doing so again. women and children. ”Conclusion: Humanitarian Intervention after 11 September” in Jennifer M. but it was to be even more emphasized after the declared failure to find the weapons of mass destruction. civilians) to articulate the ‘truth’ of the opponents’ villainity is the primary rhetorical means to vilify an opponent”.. 113 to the rights and freedoms of the Iraqi people. . the Other was always interpreted as a danger. the motivation was protecting ‘self’”. The demonizing of Saddam Hussein was accomplished through a series of arguments that would prove his disdain for western norms and values.142 The humanitarian argument was present in the legitimization of the Iraqi intervention. This reading of the Other as a danger to the Self is also due to a dimension that Piotr Cap calls axiological proximization. the humanitarian argument is left aside.
cit. op. p. cit. democracy. George W. attempting to use innocent men. is an ideology of murder. dictatorship. but this axiological dimension was not as emphasized as the other two. “In this conflict. the United States of America on the side of good – them. the Other. ”Speech of March 19. Thus. The humanitarian argument is used to define the evil nature of Saddam’s regime. America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein’s regime. 36. The Other becomes an image of radicalism.144 From an axiological perspective.143 In a first stage of the discursive process of legitimizing the Iraqi intervention. apud Piotr Cap.114 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom “it rather involves the narrowing of the distance between two different and opposing ideologies whose clash could lead to the events defined within the dimensions”. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas. and respect for human rights. Bush and others in 143 144 Piotr Cap.. tyranny. while the United States of America cherishes such values as freedom. Axiological proximization is based upon representing the Other as rejecting the core values of the Self. 6. showing only contempt towards human rights and western values. 2003”. Discursively situated on the terrorist’s side. the theme of a battle between good and evil is outlined by dichotomy in identifying the opponents: us. this rogue regime also shares the terrorist’s hatred for all that the civilized world stands for. Bush. women and children as shields for his own military – a final atrocity against his people”. “The failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq inevitably led to attempts by President George W. op. p.. the axiological dimension was present along with the temporal 9/11 analogy and spatial weapons of mass destruction threat. . the Iraqi regime on the side of evil.
cit.Radicalism. 147 Michael Blain. a moral agent. and subjects innocent civilians to horrible torture acts. by demonizing Saddam Hussein and his regime. is now brought forth and emphasized. do and will do what is necessary to ensure our nation´s and the world’s security. Three Approaches. […] And all nations should know: America did. Interventionism. 64. ʺHumanitarian Intervention and the War in Iraq: Norms.. 62. At the other end America’s identity is that of protector of human rights. as their protector. […] We want to be a nation that serves goals larger Eric A. locking up Iraqi women in ‘rape rooms’. Discourse.qst?a=o&d=5015582841] 3 March 2008. op. [http://www. only 6 times. Heinze.147 Defending the Self also implies the defending of its values against the values of an ideology of murder. p.com/PM. 115 his Administration to use humanitarian justifications to defend the removal of Saddam Husseinʹs regime”. as a proof of America´s Exceptionalism: “Our cause [of liberating Iraq and ridding it of terrorist connections] is just. the Iraqi regime does not respect the rights and freedoms of its citizens. whose violence is justified because it is for a good cause. the identities of the opponents are defined. The discursive identification of America positions it on the victim’s side. the fight against evil. 2006. and it continues.1. and after loosing the argument. Because it stands for an ideology of murder. cit.. 145 .. In this discursive context of military action read as a moral action. Loosing the WMD argument is reflected upon the usage of the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ collocations in the public speeches of the president: thus before loosing this argument the collocation is used 88 times. Populism.145 After the official recognition of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction the axiological dimension. that was until then kept a bit aside in comparison to the other two dimensions. 146 Piotr Cap. First of all.. p.146 The axiological dimension allows for “glorifying military action as moral agency”. the Iraqi people becomes a victim of a cruel tyrant that uses his own people as human shield.questia. op. in Parameters no. tests his dreadful weapons on whole villages that are under his rule. 36. and State Practiceʺ.
3. ”Comprehending ‘Our’ Violence: Reflections on the Liberal Universalist Tradition.. op. in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights no.150 To promote human rights and to stop the violence against innocent victims. cit. ”Speech of March 15. 150 Cyra A.”151 Democratization is the solution in order to stop the violence just as modernization was seen during the colonial age as the solution in order to civilize a backward Orient. is a therapeutic corrective applied to a people who must be ‘rescued’ from their ‘backwardness’ or punished for and rehabilitated from their criminality and their guilt”. cit.. George W. p.com/sol3/papers. and we must not let this moment pass”.. which cannot be a violation of human rights. America must rise up to the opportunity that was given to her.1. apud Piotr Cap. Choudhury. even if violent are only the outcome of a wish to spread the values of freedom and human dignity. cit. p. Bush. of a mission to act according to the requirements of a universal moral code and to protect human rights in every corner of the world. was the answer to George W. Bush. 106. “Address at the America Enterprise Institute. apud Piotr Cap. America’s mission is a civilizing one based on the liberal assumption that “the world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. National Identity and the War on Iraq”. 2004”. our violence. even when imposed by military force. op. While the ideologies of murder “embrace tyranny and death as a cause and creed”. 9. 3. This is how the Iraqi intervention becomes a moral one: “From this ontological position.149 America’s actions. 151 George W. 28 February 2008.148 As proof of this Exceptionalism. We’ve been offered a unique opportunity. ”Speech of April 19. 148 149 . being guided in its actions by “a moral compass”. “Transforming the Middle East into a democratic oasis. p.ssrn. 105. op. America always chooses “freedom and dignity of every life”.116 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom that self. Bush. 2003”. 2004”. apud Piotr Cap. [http://papers. 2006. February 26. Was given by whom? In this Exceptionalism there is also a bit of predestination that sets this “Great Nation” on the side of Good in the battle against Evil.cfm?abstract_id=940207]. p.
2007.. Eran N. because America’s identity is that of a liberator. Thus. Populism. Using the logic of dichotomy. irrational. Behind the violence there is a motivation based on care and compassion and the occasional victims of our violence are in fact ‘collateral damage’. the violence against the liberating forces of the coalition is defined as being illegitimate. coming to aid helpless victims. Ivie. The violence is also justified by the identity of America as a liberator of an oppressed people. p. standing proof of their barbarity and irrational nature. Only through democratization can these breeding grounds of violence be eliminated. 185. Interventionism. an expression of its irrationality. 37. and its actions are legit. uncivilized.. First of all. 175. Ben‐Porath. situated beyond reason. The Other is identified as a primitive savage.153 Our violence is the outcome of a moral action.152 The Other is identified just like in the orientalist discourse: barbaric. p. op. by our mission to help the victims. its violence is justified only as an instinctual impulse. the Iraqi violence is illegitimate. “The construction of the other as savage allows the speaker to construct a binary discourse differentiating ‘us’ (on the victims’ side) from ‘them’ and consequentially ‘our’ use of force – technologically driven and precise – and ‘theirs’. there being no justification for it. Three Approaches. 2. and by the fact that the values we stand for are universal values of good. Second of all. 154 Ibidem. 184.Radicalism. 152 153 . the regime’s violence against its own people is the first violent manifestation of the Other. cit. it is but a manifestation of the primitive nature of the savage. And democratization is brought about by those whose violence is legitimate. which is brutish and vile”. 117 the problem revealed on September 11”. this “stressing the consequent futility of negotiation and the need for immediate intervention on behalf of the savaged”154 that must be saved from himself. “Rhetoric of Atrocities: The Place of Horrific Human Rights Abuses in Presidential Persuasion Efforts” in Presidential Studies Quarterly no. and is justified by our positioning on the side of Good. The one situated on the good side intervenes exactly to put a stop to this violence. p. any act of resistance is illegal: Robert L. a euphemism that springs from the legitimate use of force..
156 They are a priori guilty through their positioning on the enemy’s side. And the enemy is always evil. cit. p. 157 George W. “The work of building a new Iraq is hard. Choudhury. 2004” apud Piotr Cap. His violence is always a threat to security. p. our identity formulations create us as the victims. Bush. that is permanently read as danger. 10. The Iraqi insurgents are either Saddam Hussein’s supporters. either members of a terrorist network. while our violence is necessary for maintaining order and security.155 Criminality becomes the main trait of the Other. 155 156 .157 The only motivation of the insurgents is contempt for the values of democracy and freedom. op. 97. our acts of violence as self‐ defense and justifiable. As enemy combatants.118 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom “When such actions are (inevitably) taken against us. Ibidem. 10. those who have been interned in the Iraqi jails and at the Guantanamo Naval Base are not given the benefit of the doubt that is presumably afforded every criminal in the U. ”Speech of January 20. The Iraqi people that were liberated are represented by those who welcomed the coalition troops and not by those who resorted to using violence against them. Cyra A. and their acts of violence as further proofs of their criminality”. cit. And America has always been willing to do what it takes for what is right. This potential threat permanently represented by the Other determines a change in its innocent statute: “For example. and their only purpose is to spread violence and fear.S. In the war on terror those who are not on America’s side are on the side of the terrorists. But as democracy takes hold in Iraq. and it is right. these detainees are not innocent until proven guilty but quite the opposite”. the enemies of freedom will do all in their power to spread violence and fear”.. p. op.
cit. Three Approaches. p. These prisoners are discursively positioned on evil’s side. we are able to explain 158 159 Cyra A. and also being aware of the interdisciplinary approach that was used in order to achieve the goal that was stated in the introduction. a reinterpretation of the torture act and its definition took place. op... ”Speach Acts.. we can also focus our attention on one kind of violence while ignoring if not justifying other violence that may have much greater impact on a far larger number of Iraqis”. in Deborah Staines. Starting from an analysis of the way in which 9/11 acquired its meaning. Nina Philadelphoff‐Puren. cit. I nevertheless believe that a discursive approach to international relation can shed some light on these complex phenomenon that is embedded into the nature of a truth‐knowledge relation. . Torture Acts”. Choudhury. this transforming them into a priori guilty persons – they are guilty by proof of their very identity and the proof of facts in no longer necessary. p.Radicalism. the aim of this essay was to render visible the discursive structures of the ‘war on terror’ and the process of discursive identification of the Self and the Other. 79. Acknowledging that words do much more that describe an objective reality and being aware of the historic and cultural meaning of certain words and distinctions. This was possible due to the blurring of the civilian/military distinction and to the emergence of an undetermined discursive space concerning the way in which these prisoners of war must be treated. Populism. 119 The discursive positioning of the insurgents on the terrorist’s side opened the possibility for the torture acts of Abu Grahib.158 Besides. Interventionism. The main effect of this torture discourse that is characteristic of the ‘war on terror’ paradigm is “to construct the symbolic conditions in which ‘torture’ (as designated by the instruments of international law) is able to be enacted without being designated as such. without signifying as such”.159 Conclusions Being aware of the critics that such an approach can bring upon it. The making public of these torture acts determined their condemnation by America and the other coalition forces but at the same time “as a result. op. 13.
120 The Discursive Road from 9/11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom how certain expressions structure our understanding of the world. The deconstruction of such expressions as ‘war on terror’. . ‘Axis of Evil’ or ‘weapons of mass destruction’ can help us see beyond the simplistic dichotomizing discourse that legitimized the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. making some representation more plausible that other and thus making possible such acts as the 2003 intervention in Iraq.
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