From Beliefs to Arguments: Interpretive Methodology and Rhetorical Political Analysis



This article examines the development of methods of political analysis concerned with ideas, beliefs and meanings and argues that these need to be supplemented by an approach attuned to the specific nature of political action. It argues that since politics involves the contest of ideas, beliefs and meanings, analysis should focus on arguments. Considering methods for the study of political arguments the article argues for a re-examination of the rhetorical tradition and the development of a Rhetorical Political Analysis (RPA). It then outlines the sorts of things this would examine, the questions it would ask and the ways in which it might go about answering them.