Communication of Parliamentary Leaders in The Baltic States: The Discursive Construction of Enduring Democracy

Līga ROMĀNE-KALNIŅA (University of Latvia)

The term democracy is a combination of Greek words demos and kratos that stand for people and power and has acquired the contemporary meaning of a way of governing the state based on the will of people. Communication is one of the key elements of a democratic polity, and language is one of the key forms of realisation of political communication. The public communication of the political leaders of the Baltic States through the tree decades of restored independence has emphasized the thematic areas of ‘returning to West’, ‘returning to Europe’ and ‘returning to democracy’ as on of the central elements of the national identities of these states. Within this framework ,the current study analyses the use of discursive strategies and linguistic techniques in the speeches by the parliamentary leaders of the Baltic States that pertain to the construction of democracy as a newly established and as an enduring value. The paper offers an overview on the understanding of the notion of democracy and political communication in the post-Soviet Baltic States across scholarly literature as well as a corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis of the available speeches given by various political leaders of the Baltic States through the years of independent republics  with the aim to analyse how continuous democracy is being constructed discursively. An additional goal of the study is to compare the use of various discursive strategies across time and across countries to measure changes  in pattern of communicative practice. It is hypothesized that similar to the rhetoric of the residents of the Baltic States through years of independence, the parliamentary leaders construct the idea of continuous democracy as part of national identities of the Baltic States against the background of common political past, the (de)construction of the common significant ‘other’ and perpetuation of common political present and future in united Europe. 

Key words: Baltic States, democracy, corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis, parliamentary discourse