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Article

Politici aan het woord

Een onderzoek naar politici en hun taalstijlen

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2 2010
Trefwoorden Political metaphor, Flemish-Belgian politics, political interviews, ideological style
Auteurs Christ’l De Landtsheer en Dieter Vertessen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article details metaphor styles in Belgian-Flemish political discourse. Some scholars complain about uniformity and colorlessness of the modern political discourse. In this 'sound bite culture', metaphor plays, nevertheless, a major role. Sound bites were, in fact, found to rely upon these traditional elements of style. The present, empirical, article examines variety in metaphor used by Flemish politicians. The first part consists of a quantitative metaphor analysis of written press interviews with male and female politicians. The second part presents the results of in-depth interviews with politicians on the subject of their own and colleagues' political (metaphor) style strategies. The conclusion confronts politicians' impressions with our findings on political (metaphor) style in Flanders.


Christ’l De Landtsheer
Christ'l De Landtsheer (1956) is hoogleraar communicatiewetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Haar onderzoeksdomein omvat linguïstische, psychologische, socialisatie- en nieuwe media aspecten van politieke communicatie.

Dieter Vertessen
Dieter Vertessen (1982) is lector aan de Karel De Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen. Zijn interesse gaat uit naar politieke marketing en online communicatie.

    This article is based on a definition of political and civil servant leadership as a behavioral steering style towards the realization of organizational goals. By means of a grounded theory methodology we get some insights in the characteristics and the interaction between both leadership styles in Flemish cities. This two-faced leadership is depicted by means of a tandem metaphor. First, we identify the relevant dimensions to describe the leadership tandem. It becomes apparent that political leadership styles differ greatly both in time and in scope. Civil servant leadership is generally characterized by a weak but presumably growing impact. This combination results in considerable leadership tensions, which is reinforced by several contingency factors: i.e. the influence of the dominant alderman model, the financial situation, the number of staff, the tendency to professionalize, the dominant political and civil servant culture and the structure of central government (e.g. on a Flemish, Belgian and European level).


Nathalie Vallet
Docent aan het Departement Management van de Universiteit Antwerpen en aan de Master in Publiek Management van de Universiteit Antwerpen Management School (UAMS).

Filip De Rynck
Hoogleraar aan het Departement Handelswetenschappen en Bestuurskunde van de Hogeschool Gent en docent aan de Master in Publiek Management van de Universiteit Antwerpen Management School (UAMS).

    The hollow state is a metaphor for the process in which the position of the nation-state is weakened, as authority is transferred to the EU level or regional level (horizontal shift) and to the private domain (vertical). We argue that the analysis of this process should not focus narrowly on formal rules and sovereignty, but that the most fruitful approach is a thorough empirical assessment of the changes taking place in various aspects of the nation-state. Moreover, the scope should be broadened to include the transformation of political decision making: from government to governance. In particular, we discuss the consequences for the functioning of political parties. We conclude that member states indeed lose policy autonomy to EU integration, and have to share authority with several other actors. Yet, because of its ability to adapt to external challenges, the state remains a relevant and important entity.


Harmen Binnema
Doctoraal onderzoeker aan de Afdeling Politicologie, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Noël P. Vergunst
Postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de Afdeling Politicologie, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
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