7. “That's What You Think”: Arguing Representations of Truth in Language

  1. Jennifer Jackson

Published Online: 16 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118306185.ch7

Political Oratory and Cartooning: An Ethnography of Democratic Processes in Madagascar

Political Oratory and Cartooning: An Ethnography of Democratic Processes in Madagascar

How to Cite

Jackson, J. (2012) “That's What You Think”: Arguing Representations of Truth in Language, in Political Oratory and Cartooning: An Ethnography of Democratic Processes in Madagascar, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118306185.ch7

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 27 DEC 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118306062

Online ISBN: 9781118306185

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Keywords:

  • democracy;
  • kabary;
  • language;
  • moral truth;
  • political cartoons;
  • urban Imerina

Summary

Speakers and auditors argue representations of truth by way of how language best performs “transparency” and “corruption.” This metalinguistic process of talking about what language does plays a role in shaping what “democracy” means and how it is linguistically mediated in urban Imerina. Kabary politika is governed by dialogical principles of power and authority, which shape and reflect a candidate's speech and the ways his audience reacts. Discourse about the contextual organization of kabary metapragmatically recalibrates the presupposed context of speech as metonymic of the relationship between the state and the people. Recontextualizing the impressions politicians attempt to create, cartoonists reveal their failures, blurring the line between the person and the political role. As politicians change the way they speak to fit with ways of government, and audiences accept the change as a move toward modernity, they dismantle the salience of traditional kabary forms.