'…A 40-Year-Old Black Man Made the Point to Me':Anecdotes, Everyday Knowledge and the Performance of Leadership in British Politics


In this article we demonstrate the application of Rhetorical Political Analysis in the study of political communication and political ideas and ideologies. Taking the rhetorical use of anecdotes as a case study, we find that their use by mainstream party leaders in Britain has proliferated markedly since the mid-1990s. Drawing on examples from speeches by leaders of all three main parties, we show how these stories are employed as a form of argumentative proof that significantly relies on the elevation of “everyday” experience and knowledge above expert or technical knowledge. We argue that this reflects a more general “valorisation of lay knowledge” and, moreover, that it is indicative of a form of populist ideology.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00953.x
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Atkins, J. and Finlayson, A. (2013), ‘... A 40‐Year‐Old Black Man Made the Point to Me’: Everyday Knowledge and the Performance of Leadership in Contemporary British Politics. Political Studies, 61: 161-177, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00953.x.  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Publication ISSN: 0032-3217
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 10:52
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 10:19
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Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 48.2012.00953.x (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2013-03
Authors: Atkins, Judi (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7391-4685)
Finlayson, Alan



Version: Accepted Version

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