Collectivism and individualism in political speeches from the UK, Japan and the USA: a cross-cultural analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Publication details

JournalPolitics, Culture & Socialization
DateAccepted/In press - 2016
Original languageEnglish


Significant insights have been gained into how politicians interact with live audiences through the detailed microanalysis of video and audio recordings, with a particular focus on rhetorical techniques used by politicians to invite applause. The aim of this paper is to review this research, but in the broader context of speaker-audience interaction, with a view to formulating a theoretical model of how politicians interact with live audiences when delivering set-piece political speeches. Consideration is given to audience responses besides applause, namely, laughter, cheering, chanting, and booing. Consideration is given also to the role of factors besides rhetorical devices, in particular, delivery, speech content, and uninvited applause. Although the analyses reviewed here are based primarily on studies of British politicians, they also include recent research on political speeches delivered in both Japan and the USA. This cross-cultural perspective, it is proposed, provides significant insights into the role of political rhetoric in speaker-audience interaction, which may be usefully conceptualized in terms of broader cross-cultural differences between collectivist and individualist societies.

    Research areas

  • Political speeches, rhetoric, applause, booing, chanting, cheering, individualism, collectivism

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