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The discourse of war after 9/11

Montgomery, M.M. (2005) The discourse of war after 9/11. Language and Literature, 14 (2). pp. 149-180. ISSN 0963-9470

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The article traces the emergence of war as the dominant term for responding to the events of 9/11. It does so by focusing on speeches, interviews and newspaper headlines in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in their discursive-pragmatic contexts. In order to account for the salience and circulation of an expression such as war, it proposes for the public sphere a principle of discursive amplification. The article also highlights, however, the unevenness of the adoption of the term war by showing how differently it was inflected at different moments and in different sections of the public sphere. In addition, other modes of expression could have been adopted. The article provides some discursive reasons why war prevailed.