Rhetoric & Politics
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Brexit: some reflections

The UK Referendum on ending membership of the EU, held on June 2016, has provoked a number of reflections on its rhetoric. Here are a few links from our members and friends.


Rhetoric Society of Europe Conference 2017

The Rhetoric Society of Europe (RSE) will hold its conference in 2017 between 3-5 July at the University of East Anglia, Norwich! The conference theme is ‘Rhetorics of Unity and Division’ and the keynotes include Gerard Hauser and Quentin Skinner.

For details on the conference, see the web site here: http://eusorhet.eu/


PSA Annual Conference 2017

The annual conference of the UK Political Studies Association will take place in Glasgow from 10-12 April 2017. Details can be found here:


We have one panel already prepared (on Rhetoric and the British Labour Party – details to follow when confirmed by the conference organisers). But there is still (just about) time to submit papers and panels. Closing date is 24 October 2016. Get in touch with me (j.martin@gold.ac.uk) if you’d like to present something on rhetoric or a related theme.

Republican Orators Conference

Here’s news of a promising conference on US Republican orators on 3 November 2016 at the University of Liverpool:


A fresh new look …

It seemed about time to refresh the web site and add a few more things to its content. I hope you like the design; it’s supposed to make it easier to navigate and read (let me know if it needs tweaking). I’ve also added a ‘research’ page to the menu to draw attention to any new publications, projects, or research-worthy news in the field of rhetoric and politics. Please send me content to fill it out a bit. JM

PSA Annual Conference 2016

We hope you’ll all be attending the PSA Annual conference in Brighton in March this year. The web page advertising the conference can be found here.

The Rhetoric and Politics Specialist Group has one panel this year. Here are the details:

Panel: Ethics, Politics and Rhetoric
Room: The Library
Time Slot: Monday 21st March 09:30 – 11:00
Panel Chair: Dr Nick Turnbull (University of Manchester)

Panel Members: 
  • Dr Giuseppe Ballacci (CEHUM – University of Minho)
  • Dr Judi Atkins (Coventry University)
  • Dr David Moon (University of Bath)
  • Professor James Martin (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • Dr Sophia Hatzisavvidou (Goldsmiths, University of London)

As both an art and a philosophical theme, it is impossible to separate rhetoric from questions of ethics. In Classical times public speech was expected to support the integrative function of sustaining the Good of the community. As part of the practice of citizenship, rhetorical skills may have served the ends of legal and political contest, but their overriding function was to promote the life of the collective over the narrowly individual. And yet, rhetoric was also viewed as the most divisive and potentially threatening of practices, a fundamental danger to moral order. This ambivalent status has changed little today: speech both claims to unify and yet is despised for doing the reverse. This panel asks how we might understand the ethical possibilities and limits of rhetoric today. In what ways are ethical concerns relayed via a rhetorical politics? How might an ethically affirmative politics temper its own potential for rhetorical excess? In a postfoundational age, what kind of resource can rhetoric offer for a reasoned and inclusive style of public speech?

Do come along. We look forward to seeing you there.

Bernard Crick Prize for Alan Finlayson!

Our esteemed colleague, Alan Finlayson, has won the Bernard Crick Prize for the best piece in the journal, Political Quarterly, in 2014. His article, ‘Proving, Pleasing and Persuading: Rhetoric in Contemporary British Politics’ was described as ‘extraordinary’ by the judges. And we don’t disagree. Hearty congratulations to Alan.

You can find the story and a link to the article (for free) by following this link.

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