Classical Rhetoric in Political Communication

The depillarization tendency in Western democracies since the 1950s has resulted in an increasing level of voter volatility and the growing importance of persuasion strategies in political communication. Interestingly, politicians still compose speeches using classical rhetoric (e.g. pathos, logos, rhetorical figures), which have never been empirically validated within political marketing, despite research in advertising theory indicating their effectiveness. Within CEPEC, we try to take the first steps towards an empirically sound political rhetoric. Therefore, CEPEC focusses on the effects of rhetorical figures (such as alliteration or rhetorical questions) on argument persuasiveness in political communication. In doing so, CEPEC aims to provide scholars, rhetoricians, political marketeers, journalists and speech writers with a rhetorical framework that explains the persuasive gains of various rhetorical figures.


This topic is part of the doctoral research of Edward De Vooght under the supervision and guidance of Liselot Hudders and Sarah Van Leuven.