Identity Entrepreneurship in Political Commemorations: A Longitudinal Quantitative Content Analysis of Commemorative Speeches by Leaders of Parties in Power and Opposition Before and During the Greek Economic Crisis
Institute for Lifecourse Development, Faculty of Education, Health and Human Sciences, University of Greenwich, Greenwich, United Kingdom
This study analyses quantitatively the content of thirty-nine political speeches made by political leaders of three political parties – New Democracy, Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) – of different status represented in the Greek parliament. The leaders of these parties release annual commemorative speeches of the restoration of Greek democracy on 24th July 1974. The focus of this study is on longitudinally analysing the content of commemorative speeches, looking at how political leaders communicate the historical event, by quantifying through a content analysis various forms of ingroups and outgroups in their annual commemorations. Such constructions were ventured during a period of 13 years, from 2004 to 2016, before and during the break out of financial crisis in 2010. Longitudinal quantitative content analysis identified differences in the use of we-referencing and they-referencing language, varying per status of parties and context of release of commemorative speeches. I view commemorative speeches as a non-neutral history-related business that requires mobilisation of audiences in different ways and different contexts. Implications of commemorating the historical past across time as institutional identity practice are discussed.