Worldviews: The Spatial Ground of Political Reasoning in Dutch Election Manifestos
A discourse approach was developed to identify explicit perspectivisation afforded by conceptual and narrative structures in political texts. The hypothesis is that the ground perspective of political rationale is packaged in ‘worldviews’ that guide ideologically motivated attitudes. This pilot study focuses on finding the ground of such discursive rhetorical structures in spatial representation as a method to distinguish party profiles. The cognitive motivation for a discursive worldview approach lies in theory of spatial cognition its relation to language and thought (Levinson 2003). Without claiming that language mirrors thought, we assume that discourse spaces suggest boundaries that give structure to the way we think and feel about the complex world we experience. In a narrative sense these spatial frames of reference make speculative assumptions about the future that sound ‘right’, as seen from a particular deictic point of view. These subjective worldviews suggest text-intrinsic causal relations by metaphorically mapping attitude on real time and space dimensions. This cross-over of real space and subjective mental space links attitude with the real time and space in which we share knowledge and experiences. The hypothesis is that the time and space in which worldviews are based is indicative of rational as well as affective characteristics of party positions. A discourse space model (Chilton 2004) was developed for the annotation of time, space and modality markers in Dutch election manifestos to identify differences between the discourse space of politically motivated worldviews. Results were compared with a content analytic study for party positioning using the same data. The TSM model is being designed for meaning-based party positioning on political dimensions.