Event Date: 14 November 2018
UCL Room Roberts 106
University College London,
London, WC1E 7JE
Professor Alan Finlayson (East Anglia) – The Changing Rhetorical Culture of British Politics: From Parliament and PEBs to Twitter and Youtube
Join The Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life for their annual public lecture at Birkbeck College, University of London. Professor Alan Finlayson will deliver a lecture on ‘The Changing Rhetorical Culture of British Politics: From Parliament and PEBs to Twitter and Youtube’.
One of the things that makes a political society what it is, is its rhetorical culture – the way in which it defines, organises and evaluates political arguments. That includes the places and rituals it establishes for the presentation of political claims and counter claims as well as expectations concerning the styles of political communication , norms about who can speak and ideas of what counts as a good argument. A key characteristic of contemporary British Politics is that its rhetorical culture is in considerable flux and may even be breaking down. As ‘traditional’ locations for political argument have been found wanting, communications technology has enabled the creation of new stages and the rise to prominence of different kinds of political actor with distinct ways of making political arguments. That has upended norms of what a good argument might look or sound like and expectations about what is an appropriate way to conduct political dispute That is why we spend a lot of our time not debating the issues but the ways in which they should be debated. In this lecture Alan Finlayson tries to put the situation into a larger conceptual and historical context, explore some of the new forms of political rhetoric emerging from digital culture and think about how we might manage this in such a way as to maintain and deepen our British democracy.
Alan Finlayson is Professor of Political & Social Theory at The University East Anglia. He writes in particular about British Politics, Political Ideologies and Rhetoric and is currently involved in two research projects supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. “The Crisis of Political Rhetoric: Renewing Political Speech and Speechwriting” is concerned with reflecting on how the art of political speechwriting and speechmaking can be supported and developed in British Politics. “Political Ideology Rhetoric and Aesthetics in the 21st Century: The Case of the alt-right” is a study of how digital communication platforms are changing the ways in which political ideas are created, made persuasive and shared.
Introduction by Dr Ben Worthy (Birkbeck):