Project

Leveraging ‘uncertainty’ during a health crisis: A comparative analysis of the speeches of four international political leaders during the first 6 months of 2020

Goal: Speeches given by political leaders during a time of crisis are important tools in the management of uncertainty and public anxiety. The Covid-19 health crisis has been shaped by constant uncertainty in relation to the novel coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) itself, infection routes and mortality rates. This project will analyse speeches made by leaders in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United Kingdom during the first six months of the health crisis. In this context, political speeches are viewed as texts constructed by a variety of contributors (e.g. the speaker, experts, speech writers) rather than examples of spontaneous or naturalistic speech. The findings of this research will contribute new knowledge to the fields of political and health communication by exploring and evaluating how uncertainty was used to encourage compliance with politically-driven health and infection control directives.

Date: 1 November 2020 - 29 November 2021

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Margo Turnbull
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Speeches given by political leaders during a time of crisis are important tools in the management of uncertainty and public anxiety. The Covid-19 health crisis has been shaped by constant uncertainty in relation to the novel coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) itself, infection routes and mortality rates. This project will analyse speeches made by leaders in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United Kingdom during the first six months of the health crisis. In this context, political speeches are viewed as texts constructed by a variety of contributors (e.g. the speaker, experts, speech writers) rather than examples of spontaneous or naturalistic speech. The findings of this research will contribute new knowledge to the fields of political and health communication by exploring and evaluating how uncertainty was used to encourage compliance with politically-driven health and infection control directives.