How can political discourse empower dictators?

Political Discourse and Dictatorial Empowerment


This is an essay paper. The prompt is: How can political discourse empower dictators? The paper length is expected to be 5,000 words.


The basic thesis of the paper is that a distancing discourse, along with a collective action, can be used to place a minority into power over the majority. There are many examples of this form of power throughout history spanning numerous civilizations. Distancing discourse includes a number of mechanisms such as spatial cues, e.g, ruler may always appear in a military uniform, be kept at a distance from the public, and made to be larger than life by the use of statues and large pictures. Collective action within the minority may include a special armed force, e.g., republican guard to protect the ruler and heighten his power in the eyes of the public.


A series of readings and lecture presentations are provided (on the attachment). Based on the lecture presentations, the essay paper should discuss and analyze the various mechanisms of distancing discourse and collective action and how they allow a minority to achieve and maintain power. Why can a dictatorship exist? Specific examples (evidence) to support the arguments made in the lectures should be taken and cited from the readings. Evidence can also be taken from the lecture notes, but will not count as much. The readings should not be discussed one by one. Rather, material (evidence) should grouped from the various readings by how it relates to the thesis.


The paper should use the key terminology introduced in the lecture presentations, for example, collective action, distancing discourse, and minority. However, no quotes should be taken from the lectures. You need to use at least one evidence from each readings provided for you. Remember we are not allowed to use any outside sources since all we need is provided in the readings. It is very important that the paper present a discussion and analysis in support of the thesis rather than simply reporting information.


The outline for the paper should be as follows:


  1. Introduction
  2. Mechanisms of Political Discourse and Collective Action
  3. Empowerment by Political Discourse and Collective Action
  4. Summary


Section 2 should introduce the reader to the mechanisms of political discourse and collective action. Section 3 should present the analysis and supporting evidence to support the thesis.





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