“An American Story of Hope:” A Visual-verbal Analysis of President Biden’s Social Network Representations of his Inaugural Promises
Keywords:Presidential Discourse, Inaugural Addresses, remediation, social networks, mobile political culture
In his 2021 Inaugural Address, President Biden proclaimed a new beginning for the US. “The world is watching,” he said, as global attention was on Washington D.C. after the Capitol Hill riots; he then called for “a new day for democracy” and promised to “write an American story of hope.”
The power of narrative in political discourse (Björninen, Hatavara and Mäkelä 2020; Gabriel 2015; Polletta 2008) merges with storytelling, that is peculiarly ingrained in American oral cultures, reaching a new ‘storywriting’ level which, in today’s mobile culture, is entrenched in social networks and thus turned into ‘storyvisualising.’
Building on previous research on American political discourse (Arizzi 2019; 2017a; 2017b;2013; 2012), this paper offers quantitative and qualitative analyses of Biden’s narrative of hope, decency and healing based on a sample of his posts from two of his official social network accounts: President Joe Biden@POTUS on Facebook and Potus President Joe Biden on Instagram.
Grounding the investigation on the idea of remediation (Prior and Hengst 2010; Bolter and Grusin 1999) and reflecting on the interplay of semiotic choices (Kress 2010; Baldry and Thibault 2006; Kress and van Leeuwen 2001) that instantiate specific political and ideological meanings, the paper explores how Biden’s Inaugural Address has been repurposed in social networks and how his new narrative for the US is verbally and visually negotiated, defined and presented.
As a contribution to the debate on the development of political discourse in mobile culture, the paper reflects on the recontextualised idea of the US as a beacon of democracy, a land of hope and dreams.
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