When and why do politicians use emotive rhetoric in parliamentary speeches?

The article was published in American Political Science Review. It analyzes two million speeches made in lower chambers of Parliament in the UK (between 2011 and 2019) as well as Ireland (between 2012 and 2013). Political leaders use emotion resources to deliver speeches in parliament, depending on the topic. They also use emotive rhetoric strategically and selectively in order to attract voters. This was one of the key conclusions of a study that was published in American Political Science Review (APSR). It involved Toni Rodon (Professor at the UPF Department of Political and Social Sciences) and Sara B. Hobolt from the London School of Economics and Political Science. "Our research shows that voters' incentives vary systematically depending upon the topic of debate." Research has shown that emotions play a significant role in politics. During election campaigns, emotive rhetoric is used to express feelings, whether they are positive or negative. The stance taken by political parties and the dissent expressed during parliamentary debates have been researched. However, the question of when and why politicians use emotive language in legislative speeches is not well understood. This has led to less research. Emotive language is a type of communication that provokes an emotional response in the listener. It can trigger positive or negative reactions beyond the meaning of the phrase or word. It can be used to convince people that a message is valid. From the perspective of electoral competition, evidence has been found linking certain political formations' electoral success with emotion-eliciting appeals. Analyse of two million speeches in both the House of Commons (Dil ireann). This article analyzes two million speeches that were delivered in the House of Commons, and in Dil ireann. These are the lower houses of Great Britain's parliament. A million parliamentary speeches is, in other words, all speeches that were delivered in both the House of Commons and the Dil Ira nn, the lower houses of parliament of Great Britain and Ireland, between 2001 and 2019. Because the British Parliament is the oldest parliament in the world, it was an ideal institution environment to study these types of speeches. The authors claim that the House of Commons is the most powerful of the UK's two legislative chambers. However, the debates there are different in terms of audience size and profile. This has allowed them to compare emotive rhetoric across different kinds of debate. The authors also studied speeches in the lower house of Ireland's parliament to confirm and expand their findings. Two styles of discourse: high-profile and low-profile legislative debates This article, which is based on an analysis that examines how politicians use emotive language in parliament, helps to understand political competition and legislative behavior. It also highlights differences with respect to the incentives legislators have depending on the type of debate. The authors conclude that different types of debates have different incentives for voters. In high-profile legislative debates, parliamentarians are more likely to use emotive rhetoric in order to grab the attention of a larger audience. They do this by using more emotive content and language. One could say that PMQs is where citizens are most exposed to the debate, which gives MPs incentives to use more emotive language. This is the case of Prime minister's questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons. It is a weekly debate. This convention is where the prime minister answers questions from MPs, particularly the leader of the Opposition. This is the highlight of the week in parliament, and it's broadcast live and extensively covered by the media. One could say that PMQs is where citizens are most exposed. This gives MPs incentives to use emotive language. The Queen's Speech and Dil Leaders Questions are two other high-profile debates that take place at the beginning of every new year of parliament. These are where the Queen reads the government’s top priorities and involves the prime minister, the opposition leader, and the prime minister of Ireland. In contrast, low-profile legislative discussions, which are less closely followed and generate less expectation, politicians usually address their peers in parliament. Therefore, emotive rhetoric is less prominent in these lower-profile debates. New method to measure emotive rhetoric This study presents a new methodological approach to measuring emotive rhetoric. It does this by combining Affective Normals for English Words' (ANEW dictionary) with word-embedding techniques, which allows it to create a specific dictionary to that field. The new tool can categorize neutral and emotional words using ANEW, and it also recognizes new words in parliamentary speeches to expand these categories. Word Clouds of Neutral and Emotive Words Some of the neutral words included by the authors include "walkway"," "diameter", and "metres", while some of their emotional words are "appalling", Empathy, "horrific", and "admiration". The areas with higher levels of emotive rhetoric are "fabric and society", "social groups", and "welfare, quality and life". While the lower emotive rhetoric areas are "political system and economy", these areas have a higher average. Researchers claim that their measurement method captures emotive language use in political environments more accurately. The authors conclude with a reminder that emotive parliamentary speeches can have positive consequences, such as increased public interest in politicians' activities and in politics generally. However, they caution that emotional rhetoric could also increase polarization. They warn that politicians who favor emotional appeals over coherent, competent policy may harm deliberation and the quality of democratic representation. ###

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