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Collectivism and Individualism in Political Speeches from the UK, Japan and the USA: a cross-cultural analysis

Peter Bull

Abstract


Abstract

Hofstede’s distinction between collectivist and individualist societies is discussed in the context of analyses of political speeches delivered in the UK, Japan and the USA. Whereas Japanese politicians predominantly used explicit rhetorical devices to invite affiliative audience responses (applause, cheering and laughter), those used by both British and American politicians were principally implicit, built into the structure of speech. Whereas Japanese audiences invariably responded collectively, from American audiences there was a constant flurry of individualized and isolated responses; in British audiences, such isolated responses were comparatively rare. American audience responses were much more varied than either British and Japanese, including chanting and booing, as well as applause, cheers and laughter. It is proposed that speaker-audience interaction in all three cultures can be usefully conceptualized in terms of individualism and collectivism.

Keywords: political speeches, collectivist societies, American audiences, Japanese politics, British politics, speaker-audience interaction

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Bibliography: Bull, Peter: Collectivism and Individualism in Political Speeches from the UK, Japan and the USA: a cross-cultural analysis, PCS, 1-2-2015, pp. 71-84. https://doi.org/10.3224/pcs.v6i1-2.06


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