As the core of political discourse is the struggle for power and scarce resources, conflict seems to be an essential component of political action and interaction. In addition, conflicts in parliament are manifested in many different ways. They range from disputes during the plenary sessions to more personal attacks in the question time. This paper, however, examines an atypical display of parliamentary discourse, namely a speech by a social democratic MP David Rath, which regarded a vote on his extradition and was delivered on 5 June 2012. This speech obviously did not fulfil the primary function of the parliamentary sessions, i.e. legislating and decision-making. Here the MP was given the opportunity to present his own version of events and ask fellow MPs to maintain his parliamentary immunity. The analysis revealed two intertwining discourse strategies. On the one hand, the MP who is charged with several criminal acts presents himself as a victim of a conspiracy. In that, he aims to divert attention from the criminal case while calling for sympathy and providing self-justification. On the other hand, he uses his time to verbally complain about his arrest, the conditions in which he is held in custody, and the people he holds responsible for his current situation; he uses verbal attacks to undermine and disqualify a number of overt and covert enemies. The key aim of the analysis is to explore how victimhood is constructed in discourse, what discourse strategies are observable at the macro-level and how they are reflected in the discourse structure and in the linguistic style.
Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)
- 602004 Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
- 602048 Soziolinguistik
- 602041 Rhetorik