A rhetoric of peace and protest: Discourse analysis, semiotics and the murals in Northern Ireland

Robinson, Katherine J.
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This dissertation offers an examination of applied protest rhetoric through a unique form of public discourse that promotes a problematic accessibility for individual, regional, and global audiences. The nontraditional rhetoric found within the murals in Northern Ireland engage viewers in a process of interpretation that opens up the opportunities for peace. The significance of this dissertation on the semiotic discourse analysis of the murals in Northern Ireland is found within its contributions to rhetorical and semiotic scholarship, the Northern Irish communities, and the world at large. This study connects the murals of Northern Ireland to deliberative, epideictic, and forensic forms of nontraditional rhetoric, and a tradition of storytelling from the Paleolithic cave paintings of France to the visual discourse of the virtual environment. This analysis incorporates multiple methodologies that include semiotics, classical rhetoric, and discourse analysis. In addition, this dissertation expands upon the scope of semiotic studies of public art through the connections found between the political murals and the language of semiotics. This dissertation displays the interconnected nature of visual and verbal iconography that promotes alternative interpretations in Northern Ireland as it moves towards peace.

Language, literature, and linguistics, Discourse analysis, Murals, Northern ireland, Protest, Rhetoric, Semiotics