State of exception against microscopical and powerful enemies: A critical discourse analysis of two national broadcasting from president piñera

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Logos: Revista de Linguistica, Filosofia y Literatura


Chile's recent history has gone through a hybrid conjuncture between what has been called the "social outbreak" on October 18, 2019, and the declaration of health emergency by COVID-19 promulgated on March 18, 2020. In such a context, this article describes and interprets two presidential speeches that announce the States of Exception based on conjunctural enemies' rise. This social problem is investigated from Critical Discourse Studies (Fairclough, 2013; O'Grady, 2019) and Systemic Functional Linguistics, particularly the appraisal system (Martin and White, 2005), together with the categories of legitimation proposed by van Leeuwen (2008). This research is positioned from a qualitative perspective (Flick, 2015) and takes as a corpus of analysis the two speeches declaring a State of Exception by President Piñera in 2019 and 2020, respectively. These speeches are available to the public at The results show that an enemy is constructed in both cases by contrasting the actions taken or not, which present negative appreciation valuations in the case of COVID-19 and negative integrity judgments in the case of the social outbreak. In both cases, key social actors emerge that are firmly legitimized within the State of Exception framework, which in turn is based on the categories of authority and moral legitimation. In conclusion, the enemy's construction is identified in both cases with modification of the actors that interact through a problem, an action, and an agent that solves the problem constructed.

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