Beyond the Lines of ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’: A Positive Discourse Analysis of ? Dioelected Speeches of Nelson Mandela

Keywords: apartheid, ideological square, positive discourse analysis, us-them dichotomy


Keeping in view language as a social practice capable of bringing socio-political changes, the current study is an endeavour to conduct positive discourse analysis of Nelson Mandela’ speeches, an anti-apartheid leader of South Africa. Taking guidelines from Van Dijk’s ideological square, we illustrate how novel strategies, contrary to the conventional ones, were employed by the orator to break the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Mandela used the merger of dichotomies in terms of pronouns, positive other representation, mitigation through passivization, and replacement of positive words with words having negative connotations to describe the out-group and malicious state of affairs. The aim was to promote inter-racial tolerance and solidarity among the divided nation in order to attain the goal of an all-inclusive nationhood. The study concludes that Mandela’s strategic and unconventional use of discourse enabled him to play a major role in the peaceful democratization of South Africa and made him a global icon of peace and humanity.

Keywords: apartheid, ideological square, positive discourse analysis, us-them dichotomy


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Author Biography

Fouzia Janjua, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Associate Professor


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How to Cite
Khurshid, N., & Janjua, F. (2022). Beyond the Lines of ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’: A Positive Discourse Analysis of ? Dioelected Speeches of Nelson Mandela. Linguistics and Literature Review, 8(2).