Skip to main content

Beyond Metaphor: Rhetorical Action in IR Reconsidered

The CEU Campus
Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 3:30 pm


International Relations theorists often try to account for the place and function of rhetorics in world politics. Yet, most of such attempts either deny rhetorics its independent meaning and value, or marginalise it arguing for the 'ontological primacy' of practices. In this manner, rhetorics is either understood as ‘mere talking’, often opposed to ‘action proper’, or is considered to be a peculiar kind of acting which, deliberately or not, veils the true object of investigation; be it actors’ intentions or identities, depending on whether investigation in question is conducted in rationalist or constructivist terms.
This paper argues that if rhetorical action is (re)considered drawing on the insights of linguistic formalism - both original and ‘new’ - rhetorical styles of political actors reveal, rather than conceal, their political identities. Furthermore, such reconsideration significantly clarifies the status of the ‘logics’ of appropriateness, arguing and practicality in constructivist theorising