Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


10 May 2017

Politicians' speeches at national Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations

Presented By John Richardson
  • 1-2.30pm (a DARG event)
  • B1.14 Brockington Building

About this event

"I am currently analyzing British Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) since 2002, and the ways this may have changed. Every year, a national commemorative event is held, the format of which has been relatively stable: they are always multimodal events, combining speeches, poems, readings, music and candle-lighting, with some material delivered live on the night and some pre-recorded. I argue that these events function as a complex epideictic rhetoric, communicating and revivifying shared values. These events always include a speech from a government politician. The data for this session of DARG are the speeches delivered by Prime Ministers Tony Blair (2005) and David Cameron (2015). I am interested in the ways that these speeches tread a fine line between contending participant roles (speaking for themselves and/or the government and/or the nation), contending metafunctions (communicating history and/or communicating hope) and contending performatives (doing commemoration vs doing politics)."