If politics is an art, then matters of style must be crucial to its practice. This essay considers how political actions are shaped by rhetorical practices that depend upon aesthetic perceptions. Modern assumptions of artistic autonomy are replaced by the classical concept of decorum, which offers a model for understanding how political life is styled for rhetorical effect. The role of decorousness in contemporary politics is illustrated by the extreme case of the courtly style, which constitutes power through propriety, is centered on the king’s body, displaces speech with gesture, and ends in political paralysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics