Tension and Conflict in the Labour Discourse Community: A Critical Genre Analysis of Labour Prime Ministers' Speeches to the TUC (1969-2008)


Abstract - Trade Unions have been the most important constituency of the British Labour Party since 1900. The relationship between the party and workers' organizations has undergone deep changes, resulting in the open confrontation that characterised the years of the latest Labour governments (1997-2010). Labour Prime Ministers' speeches to the annual conference of the Trade Union Congress form a genre on their own as they are addressed to a distinctive discourse community and respond to specific purposes (Swales 1990). They are institutionalised ways of acting semiotically (Fairclough 2003, 2006), thus aspects of the social practice of governing. This article provides a critical genre analysis of speeches by Labour Prime Ministers to the TUC from 1969 to 2007 to reveal the frictions inside the Labour discourse community.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v12p161

Keywords: Great Britain; genre analysis; discourse analysis; trade unions; labour party


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