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Jordan Brown

Doctoral Candidate
Florida State University
Planned Research

If awarded the Postdotoral Prize Research Fellowship, I would be interested in conducting


comparative research focusing on the role of emotions in political discourse. More specifically, I
am interested in examining differences in United States and European discourse, drawing on the
political and social movement framing literature, concerning the War on Terror and the Cold
War.
The majority of work on emotions in social movements focuses on how social movement
organizations use emotions as a means of mobilizing a citizenry and creating a collective identity
within a movement or organization. While this is certainly an important aspect of emotions, I am
interested in contributing to this field by focusing on other roles that emotions play in social
movement and political processes. For instance, I am interested in investigating how politicians
and social movement actors use emotions to help construct social reality for activists and
bystanders. Specifically, how do actors manage their emotions, and attempt to manipulate their
audiences’ emotions, in order to define a situation as troubling. Furthermore, I am interested in
the outcomes of drawing on emotions. In particular, does the use of emotions allow actors to
increase their level of media coverage, and does the use of emotions allow politicians and
activists to shift public opinion.

Using the War on Terror and The Cold War as case studies, I would like to compare both elite
political actors, and social movement actors to determine if the same types of emotions are
successful in affect public opinion across cultures. I believe that there are two aspects of this
study that especially theoretically relevant to the political discourse literature. First, by
comparing the rhetoric in American and European cultures, similarities and differences in the
construction of social threats across cultures could be uncovered. This would lead to great
insight into how social threats are constructed in increasingly interdependent and globalized
international culture.
Second, comparing the War on Terror with the Cold War will help to uncover how political
discourse has changed over time in international arenas. Especially relevant in uncovering
changes over time is that this study would uncover how technological and media advances
during the information age have affected social construction of threat. Furthermore, comparing
these two political crises will allow for a comparison of rhetoric focused an easily identifiable
foreign foe (i.e the Soviet Union) versus the rhetoric used to construct an enemy that lacks a
unified political image, such as the informal terrorist networks presently targeted.