Drawing on corpus linguistic methods of analysis, this book critically examines the "rhetorical God gap" in American political discourse between the Democratic and Republican parties. The volume investigates the claims which point to a correlation between a higher degree of religiosity in Republican political discourse and voting preferences for the party and in turn, a call for Democratic politicians to engage in similar discourse toward "closing" the gap, which have often not been substantiated by quantitative data in the literature and have tended to focus on particular genres of political discourse. The book adopts a keyword approach, using such techniques as collocation analyses, concordance reading, and Bible-specific N-gram identification, toward the study of a corpus of general campaign speeches over a 50 year period, and links findings from this data with social and cultural contextual factors to provide a more informed understanding of rhetorical patterns in religiously laden political language. The volume showcases the value of corpus linguistic methods in interrogating claims around political language and their broader applicability in linguistic research, making this key reading for students and scholars in corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, American politics, and religious studies.
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1. Chapter 1: Methodology and Limitations
2. Chapter 2: Religious Rhetoric in the Early Cold War
3. Chapter 3: The GOP’s Rhetoric of Culture Wars and Anti-Liberalism
4. Chapter 4: The Religious Rhetoric of the Democratic Party: Religious Denominations, Communities of Brothers and Sisters, and Biblically Inspired Language
Corpus based linguistics is a dynamic area of linguistic research. The series aims to reflect the diversity of approaches to the subject, and thus to provides a forum for debate and detailed discussion of the various ways of building, exploiting and theorizing about the use of corpora in language studies.