Justification And Excuses Tactics In Presidential Debates


The article is devoted to the study of such self-presentation tactics as excuses and justification in the framework of political discourse. Dealing with the concepts of ‘communicative image’, ‘communicative strategies and tactics’ as well as ‘self-presentation’, it makes use of a two-component model of self-presentation considering the employment of tactics of a defensive type in the most recent US presidential election final debates between D. Trump and J. Biden, where current issues of national importance such as problems of cultural identity and the immigration crisis were raised making the two political opponents comment on them, admitting or rejecting their responsibility. Research material is represented by the transcript of the presidential candidates’ speeches. The study provides a detailed linguistic analysis, evaluates the defensive tactics the politicians have to resort to and come to the conclusion that the communicative tactics of excuse are characteristic of today's political debates and largely prevail over justification due to the fact that the latter involves giving reasons and accepting responsibility while the tactics of excuses enable the speaker to deny it. The authors make inference that as a result, less harm is done to the political reputation but quite an ambiguous image may be nevertheless created.

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31 March 2022

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1st Edition




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Grigorazh, D. S., Dmitrieva, M. I., Kolosova, T. Y., Korobova, N. V., & Ukhanova, O. A. (2022). Justification And Excuses Tactics In Presidential Debates. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 576-583). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.03.69