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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2020

16. Rhetorik der Erinnerung – Die Festund Gedenkrede als politische Textsorte

From the book Handbuch Politische Rhetorik

  • Katrin Schöpe


Public remembrance serving consciousness-raising in a state’s political culture is dependent on rituals and concrete forms of ceremony, such as remembrance days, which are an essential part of a society’s cultural memory. They form part of the symbols utilized by a state to represent itself publicly. On holidays and commemorative days, public memory is shown by means of ritualized forms, such as commemoration ceremonies. Thus, a ceremonial and commemorative address is considered a mandatory communicative part of the overarching event, i.e. the commemorative ceremony. Ceremonial and commemorative addresses belong to the speech genre of epideictic oratory. At an early stage, in antiquity, they formed the classical rhetorical triad, together with the genus iudiciale and the genus deliberativum. Ceremonial and commemorative speeches have above all an integrative function to give expression to shared values and collective feelings. Linguistically, commemorative speeches are characterized by elevated stylistic features, an overall vagueness of terms as well as a distinctive use of words expressing consent, of linguistic symbols and of expressive and evaluative vocabulary. The problematic nature of classifying political ceremonial and commemorative speeches within epideictic oratory will be demonstrated.

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