The discourse of Hugo Chávez in “Aló Presidente” : establishing the Bolivarian Revolution through television performance
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This dissertation analyzes the discourse of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in his weekly television show Aló Presidente. It focuses on the discursive practices in this genre by Chávez as an essential element in the Bolivarian Revolution; an exercise of power in itself, and a means to establish a direct relationship with the Venezuelan public. The analysis shows that Aló Presidente employs unique discursive strategies to engage in a national dialogue, including: the use of repetition, lists, and fragmentation through the alternation of discursive genres, as well as deictic shift; the establishment of an ideology, the presentation of selected themes and stories; the construction of relationships with established social categories (middle-aged women, high-ranking military personnel, militant youth, etc.) through dialogue with interlocutors during the show; and a strict hierarchy in which Chávez appears as the ultimate leader, through deixis, turn-taking, and the use of targeted speech acts. This study uses the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis, drawing mainly from Fairclough (2003) and van Dijk (1998, 2010). It also draws from theories of: (a) discourse genre, as in Charaudeau (2004) and Smith (2003); (b) deixis, as in Agha (2007); (c) dialogue, defined by Weigand (2009) and Tannen (2007); (d) political discourse, discussed in Chilton (2004); and (e) media discourse, as in Bourdieu (1991). The corpus is drawn from broadcasts ending with the digit 8 randomly selected between 2005 and 2007 (shows 218, 248, 278, 288, 298). The conclusion is that the show serves as the main communication strategy of the Revolution, establishing a direct relationship with viewers, in which several conventional procedures of television discourse are flaunted. The discourse, which is anchored in the category of space, is well established as a new genre in political media discourse. It is directed to Chávez’s followers, divided into specific target groups, in a hierarchical fashion in which he occupies the power position. The strategies adopted allow for a high level of involvement with the audience. The discursive practices developed are a key element in the advancement of the Revolution and are in line with its beliefs and attitudes.