Den politiska mytens funktion : En begreppsutredning av hur retorikvetenskapen kan använda mytbegreppet vid kritiska analyser
There is a widespread conception that myths are false and manipulative which is why man must strive to move away from them. Simultaneously they affect our social lives to a high degree, especially political myths. With a starting point of the science of rhetoric needing to complement its understanding of how social meaning is produced, this essay will attempt to develop a theoretical understanding of how political myths functions and produce social meaning. The questions that guide the investigation are how the concept of myth is understood in other scientific contexts, which functions myth fulfills and in which way the concept of myth can supplement the science of rhetoric. The investigation is based on Roland Barthes’, Kenneth Burke’s and Ernst Cassirer’s perspective on political myth. The study concludes that myth often functions to oversimplify diversity to sustain the prevailing political order or to overthrow it. Furthermore, it shows that myth can be understood as a way for man to express emotion and that these myths can be activated by the utterance of a word or sentence. Based on this notion, I argue that one should view myth as a function rather than a definition. I further claim the importance of understanding that mythical expression cannot be met by ‘rational’ or ‘logical’ arguments. I rather propose that rhetorical myth analysis ought to be combined with theories of language’s ethical dimension to be interpreted in an accurate manner.
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