Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
This thesis uses discourse theory on speeches made by four Tea Party elites: Glenn Beck, Ted
Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Rand Paul, to see how they construct an American identity. My
purpose is to show how the Tea party movement articulates the American identity by
exploring the way in which they use chains of equivalences to produce meaning to their
identity. My methodological tools rely on the framework developed by Ernesto Laclau and
Chantal Mouffe, and further refined though the work of Norman Fairclough and David
Howarth, where meaning is produced by articulating elements into nodal points that taken
together constitutes a discursive hegemony based on inclusion and exclusion in social
antagonisms, where the movement articulates who they are in relation to what they are not.
My results indicate that the Tea Party movement does not find a way to stabilize a cohesive
identity, instead their conception of the American identity exists within both a libertarian
notion of freedom and liberty as the absence of external force, while at the same time
articulating conservative social values such as God, family, and marriage; they also tow the
line of dogmatic individualism and populist collectivist notions of a people and a nation. This
shows how the Tea Party movement is an eclectic movement that bears similarity to historical
conservative movements in America that has often articulated philosophical impulses that are
conflicting and sometimes even incompatible with each other.
2016. , 57 p.