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Text and Context in the Discourses of the Third Way in Germany and the United Kingdom A Comparative Study of the Language of ‘New Labour’ and ‘Die Neue Mitte’

Kranert, Michael


Michael Kranert


This thesis undertakes a comparison of the discursive strategies of New Labour and the German SPD at the turn of the twenty-first century, when both parties engaged in a discourse of the Third Way in order to win over ‘the middle ground of the electorate’.
Approaching the two discourses with an interdisciplinary set of analytical tools from linguistic discourse analysis (keyword analysis, metaphor analysis, argumentation analysis, genre analysis) and political science (political culture, comparative politics, morphology of ideologies), I demonstrate the similarities and differences between these discourses at a structural level.
Germany and the UK differ widely in their political cultures and institutions as well as in their traditions of political discourse, and I analyse how far these differences manifest themselves in the linguistic strategies employed by the German SPD and the British Labour Party in order to change their ideological identity in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In order to describe and compare central features of the discourse of the Third Way in Germany and the UK, the analysis begins at the crossing point of the two discourses: a policy paper that became known as the Schröder-Blair paper. The analysis is then enriched by evaluating three key publications by leading proponents of a Third Way (Giddens (1998) The Third Way, Mandelson and Liddle (1996) The Blair Revolution, Hombach (1998) Aufbruch).
The second step focuses on two central party-political text types, ‘party conference speeches’ and ‘election manifestos’, to demonstrate how they differ in German and English, and which central features of the Third-Way discourse Labour and the SPD employ in these texts to convince the party members and the electorate of their new political orientation. The analysis of the election manifestos also adds a diachronic element, as it contains a corpus-assisted analysis of the election manifestos of Labour and the SPD between 1987 and 2002.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 17, 2016
Keywords Linguistic Discourse Analysis; Political Discourse; Third Way; New Labour; SPD; Genre, Metaphor, Argumentation, Multimodality
Public URL
Award Date Oct 28, 2016

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