Kenyatta University Linguistics Circle Seminar
Invites you to a presentation on:
‘“We are the People”: Pronominal Selection and the Construction of Collective Identities in Kenyan Political Discourse’
Dr. Ochieng Orwenjo
Department of English and Linguistics, Kenyatta University

Chair: Prof. Chege Githiora

Synopsis: This paper examines the relationship between pronominal selection and the construction of collective identities in political discourse by Kenyan politicians. Political speeches from two political campaigns namely, The Draft Constitution of Kenya Referendum Campaigns (2005) and the General Elections Campaigns (2007) are analysed. The paper shows how Kenyan politicians both in the government and opposition strategically exploited pronominal selection to construct and delimit collective political, ethnic and class identities and highlights how Political discourse is a privileged mechanism that lets political actors to structure a specific space where they can configure and strengthen their collective identities. Collective identities are understood as cognitive models of the group self, including its attributes, relational behaviour, goals and values, which are both constituted and negotiated by the interactions within a discourse community. It is argued that, with respect to the 2007 general elections, the intensity and the emotive nature of this process of construction of collective identities, contributed to the post election violence witnessed in the country during the campaigns and soon after the election.

DATE: Wednesday, July 16th 2014.
Time: 11.00AM – 12.00 Noon.
Venue: Resource Centre, Department of English & Linguistics.

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