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Contextualization and implicitness in racist political advertising

Although the text can be locally construed as coherent, such a local interpretation is insufficient for an adequate understanding of the text. What is needed is a re-reading of the text in light of the implicit meanings that it communicates, the presuppositions it builds on, and the inferences that recipients can reasonably draw from it about the candidate’s future.

The election poster constructs the candidate as a trustworthy politician who does not lack personal integrity. This is the public persona that she wants to project to the public and that she constructs explicitly through the statements on the poster. The positive image is carried through the “metalingual promise” message analysed in the previous section.

However, as mentioned above, the text also conveys implicit meanings that are grounded in the recipients’ background knowledge about the candidate. It is argued here that these implicit meanings actually constitute the election promise per se, i.e. the candidate’s political position. As a result, the “metalingual promise” message puts forward the identity of the candidate not only as a truth-telling politician but also a hard-liner who will not modify her politically incorrect (racist) rhetoric. At the same time, the vagueness of the “metalingual promise” message and the implicitness of the candidate’s identity construction as a racist politician makes the implicit meanings deniable by the candidate.

 
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