Alessandro Prato

"Tell the Facts as They Are Not". The Use of Euphemism in Contemporary Public Discourse

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Manipulation, Propaganda, Euphemism, Political Communication, Rhetoric.

The paper aims to investigate the use of euphemism in the political communication as one of the most interesting strategies used to influence the behaviour of people and direct the formation of opinions in accordance with guidelines functional to systems of power. Euphemism is a a figure of speech in which an appropriate expression is replaced with words or phrases that have a weaker meaning, so as to soften or conceal its excessive violence or crudeness for the sake of social expediency, or for religious, moral or even political concerns. This figure is based on the evocative power of words which leads people to believe in the representation of reality developed by the orator, even when it is not based on verisimilitude. In this way the description of reality is often misleading and untruthful. To identify and expose these strategies of misleading manipulation is one of the crucial tasks of critical thought today. On it hinges the possibility for citizens to be more than just passive spectators of the spectacle of communication and defenceless targets of propaganda techniques.

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