Marietta on the Politics of Sacred Rhetoric

In March, Baylor University Press published, The Politics of Sacred Rhetoric: Absolutist Appeals and Political Persuasion, by Morgan Marietta, who teaches American politics and political psychology at the University of Georgia.  The volume explores the uses and effects of American politicians’ reliance on religious tropes in expressing their political positions, even where the connection between their language and the sacred is not overt.  The first part of the volume discusses this trend and its effect in general.  The second part delves into how such rhetoric has been used in specific social movements; by specific presidents, such as George W. Bush; and in specific political undertakings, like the 2008 Democratic  campaign.

For the publisher’s description, please follow the jump.

Revealing what lies behind much contemporary political rhetoric, Morgan Marietta shows that the language of America’s most prominent leaders often relies on deep, even sacred, ideals. Comprehensively and in great detail surveying the rhetorical inventions employed in influential social movements and into the highest levels of government, The Politics of Sacred Rhetoric systematically analyzes the use of absolutist claims—and appeals to what a speaker deems to be universal truths—as essential elements of persuasion in the American political landscape. In exploring the sometimes subtle ways in which politicians employ this “sacred rhetoric,” Marietta engagingly demonstrates its impact on citizens’ reasoning, public discourse, and the very nature of American democracy.

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