Tuesday 23rd of July 2024


Producing the Self and the Other: Stereotyping and Nationalism in the Rhetoric of Matteo Renzi

Valeria Reggi, CenTras, University College London pdf_icon_30x30




Abstract: This article provides an overview of a study of the dynamics of negotiation of identity and group formation in institutional communication, with reference to the speeches in English of the former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. His statements of intent to dismantle old habits and customs to promote dynamism and innovation stand in dramatic contrast to his extensive use of verbal and nonverbal clichés and stereotypes. While apparently opening the country to international integration – whether towards the EU or Africa – Renzi in fact reinforced the traditional myth of the nation by turning it into common-sense knowledge and recalling conservative political practice. Based on the assumption that language expresses the system of values and beliefs of the speaker and ideologically constructs the subject, the study brought the dynamics of creation of the “Other” to the fore and shed light on Renzi’s implied ideology by focusing on how stereotypes were explicitly and implicitly reproduced to reinforce group identity. The study analysed two sample videos of Renzi’s speeches in English addressing a general audience in order to foreground implied subtexts while testing whether Jeremy Munday’s model for evaluation in translation could be expanded to include nonverbal language (hand gestures) and applied to a process of cultural self-translation. The paper presents an extract of the analysis of one of the speeches and outlines the general outcome of the study.


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