Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
This paper explores the rhetorical devices used by President Donald J. Trump and how his speech acts and commentary regarding immigration, gun violence, and topics of race help construct and popularize a discourse wherein members of the dominant society are understood as a population under threat. This paper draws on a body of quotes supplied by Donald Trump and his supporters primarily through social media outlets such as Twitter, from speeches made a public rallies, and from books authored by Trump. The researcher submits an argument that Trump supporters find their fears of marginalization and fears of infringement of their freedoms to be reified in spaces of online consortium. This space, which is co-constructed through social media and online outlets, has become the loci of a reality where interlocutors come to practice and negotiate their identity, and to symbolically perform their relationships with Others, in what Holland (1998) refers to as a 'figured world'. Such discourse has proved to be resistant to positivist accounts that counter the foundations of the purported concerns. This paper also considers the complex social production of racial Whiteness and Otherness in the US and how hegemonic discourses regarding race are realized in politicized spaces.