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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2022

The Conservatives’ representation of socialism and liberalism during PMQs since the 1990s

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Résumé

The Conservatives’ representation of socialism and liberalism during PMQs since the 90s. Socialism and liberalism are ideologies which, in Michael Freeden’s terms “are not an exact representation of an ideational reality, but a symbolic reconstruction of it”. Drawing on this premise this paper seeks to analyse how and to what end the Conservatives have made a symbol out of (Labour’s) socialism and (the Conservatives’) liberalism through parliamentary discourse (esp. during PMQs). This process of symbolization through specific rhetoric means results in a clear-cut ideological divide between parties offering an (over)simplified view of the political world. However, symbols are fluid and can evolve as situations change. While the Conservatives’ negative portrayal of socialism has never changed through the years, liberalism as a symbol has morphed into various forms as new meanings and values have been endowed with it. Successive PM from J. Major have played on the ‘ambiguity and multivocality’ of the word ‘liberal-ism’ to serve their party’s purpose and interests. Aware of the potency of symbols, the Labour party and the Conservatives alike have tried to claim ownership of existing symbols owned by their opponents blurring ideological lines in the process, so much so that the identity and unity of the group came under threat.
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hal-03873385 , version 1 (26-11-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03873385 , version 1

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Stéphane Revillet. The Conservatives’ representation of socialism and liberalism during PMQs since the 1990s. Liberalism and/or Socialism: Tensions, Exchanges, Convergences, Palgrave, In press. ⟨hal-03873385⟩

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