Gould, Robert

Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies and Associate Director of the Centre for European Studies at Carleton University. After becoming interested in the theory and practice of rhetoric, he taught courses on the development of political language in Germany in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This led eventually to an examination of contemporary discourses of immigration and identity in a range of European countries - Austria, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland - as represented by political position papers and on-the-record public statements by politicians in those countries. Recent Papers/Publications: “Varieties of Discourse in the German Headscarf Debate”, Canadian Centre for European and German Studies, York University, 28 March 2007;“New Populations in Europe: The German Headscarf Debate as Resistance and Accommodation”, Centre for European Studies, Carleton University, 24 September, 2007;“Identity, Diversity, Responsibility”, delivered at the international conference “Ethics in Democracy: How can Ethics Shape Political Culture?” Riga, 5 and 6 November, 2007.

Listing Details

Centre for European Studies at Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1S 5B6
613 520-2600 ext. 2113
613 520- 7501
Research Description
My research examines the communication of (national) identity, immigration / immigrants, and minorities by political parties in a number of European countries, including the German-speaking area. Rather than investigating oral statements or popular discourses, the research centres on on-the-record (and hence non-deniable) documents such as election manifestos, position papers, and statements on party websites. More specifically, attention is given to the linguistic devices employed, the choice of terminology, collocations, argumentation, metaphor, etc. This political material is the object of analysis as it is published with the intention of creating or reinforcing a specific view of social reality and communicating particular evaluations; its goal is to influence media discourses, public attitudes, evaluations and actions - particularly voting behaviour. Parallel to this work, and continuing, is investigation of the increasing use by far-right parties of the communicative possibilities provided by new media and social networking platforms (e.g. twitter, sms, facebook, YouTube) to reinforce and propagate their discourses which reject immigrants and minorities (whether new or long-standing), and particularly Moslems, in the name of the nation, a supposedly uniform ‘national culture’, or Christianity – or any combination of these elements. This research has also been accompanied by collaboration with the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS in Riga on a project which analysed the very illiberal statements in the Latvian parliament and the print media towards the minorities in Latvia. This project resulted in a series of reports brought to the attention of the Parliament of Latvia and to the media. A scholarly book Shrinking Citizenship. Discursive Practices that Limit Democratic Participation in Latvian Politics (eds. Maria Golubeva and Robert Gould) will be published by Rodopi, Amsterdam, in the Fall of 2010.