‘Strangers in their own Country’: Epideictic Rhetoric and Communal Definition in Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech

Judi Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article treats Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech as an example of the epideictic rhetoric of blame and exclusion. Drawing on a framework proposed by Celeste Michelle Condit, the analysis explores the functions of the address for the speaker and for the audience. Of particular concern are Powell's self‐presentation as a statesman and prophet; his account of the impact and consequences of unrestricted immigration; and his portrayal of a community where ordinary, decent English people were being displaced and victimised by Commonwealth immigrants—a process in which he claimed the authorities were complicit. For the audience, the speech gave public expression to their concerns about immigration, though Powell's predictions of a dystopian future also aroused sentiments of anger and foreboding. Despite the controversy that ensued, the impact of ‘Rivers of Blood’ was far‐reaching, and its influence is still apparent in contemporary debates over immigration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-369
Number of pages8
JournalThe Political Quarterly
Volume89
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Fingerprint

immigration
rhetoric
river
anger
exclusion
community

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Atkins, J 2018, '‘Strangers in their own Country’: Epideictic Rhetoric and Communal Definition in Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech' The Political Quarterly, vol 89, no. 3, pp. 362-369, which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-923X.12548
This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Keywords

  • Enoch Powell
  • rhetoric
  • immigration
  • race
  • community
  • national identity

Cite this

‘Strangers in their own Country’ : Epideictic Rhetoric and Communal Definition in Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech. / Atkins, Judi.

In: The Political Quarterly, Vol. 89, No. 3, 09.2018, p. 362-369.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{54fb8d7913f048a1afe57633d25d75b9,
title = "‘Strangers in their own Country’: Epideictic Rhetoric and Communal Definition in Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech",
abstract = "This article treats Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech as an example of the epideictic rhetoric of blame and exclusion. Drawing on a framework proposed by Celeste Michelle Condit, the analysis explores the functions of the address for the speaker and for the audience. Of particular concern are Powell's self‐presentation as a statesman and prophet; his account of the impact and consequences of unrestricted immigration; and his portrayal of a community where ordinary, decent English people were being displaced and victimised by Commonwealth immigrants—a process in which he claimed the authorities were complicit. For the audience, the speech gave public expression to their concerns about immigration, though Powell's predictions of a dystopian future also aroused sentiments of anger and foreboding. Despite the controversy that ensued, the impact of ‘Rivers of Blood’ was far‐reaching, and its influence is still apparent in contemporary debates over immigration.",
keywords = "Enoch Powell, rhetoric, immigration, race, community, national identity",
author = "Judi Atkins",
note = "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Atkins, J 2018, '‘Strangers in their own Country’: Epideictic Rhetoric and Communal Definition in Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech' The Political Quarterly, vol 89, no. 3, pp. 362-369, which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-923X.12548 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.",
year = "2018",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1111/1467-923X.12548",
language = "English",
volume = "89",
pages = "362--369",
journal = "Political Quarterly",
issn = "0032-3179",
publisher = "Wiley",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - ‘Strangers in their own Country’

T2 - Epideictic Rhetoric and Communal Definition in Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech

AU - Atkins, Judi

N1 - This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Atkins, J 2018, '‘Strangers in their own Country’: Epideictic Rhetoric and Communal Definition in Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech' The Political Quarterly, vol 89, no. 3, pp. 362-369, which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-923X.12548 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

PY - 2018/9

Y1 - 2018/9

N2 - This article treats Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech as an example of the epideictic rhetoric of blame and exclusion. Drawing on a framework proposed by Celeste Michelle Condit, the analysis explores the functions of the address for the speaker and for the audience. Of particular concern are Powell's self‐presentation as a statesman and prophet; his account of the impact and consequences of unrestricted immigration; and his portrayal of a community where ordinary, decent English people were being displaced and victimised by Commonwealth immigrants—a process in which he claimed the authorities were complicit. For the audience, the speech gave public expression to their concerns about immigration, though Powell's predictions of a dystopian future also aroused sentiments of anger and foreboding. Despite the controversy that ensued, the impact of ‘Rivers of Blood’ was far‐reaching, and its influence is still apparent in contemporary debates over immigration.

AB - This article treats Enoch Powell's ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech as an example of the epideictic rhetoric of blame and exclusion. Drawing on a framework proposed by Celeste Michelle Condit, the analysis explores the functions of the address for the speaker and for the audience. Of particular concern are Powell's self‐presentation as a statesman and prophet; his account of the impact and consequences of unrestricted immigration; and his portrayal of a community where ordinary, decent English people were being displaced and victimised by Commonwealth immigrants—a process in which he claimed the authorities were complicit. For the audience, the speech gave public expression to their concerns about immigration, though Powell's predictions of a dystopian future also aroused sentiments of anger and foreboding. Despite the controversy that ensued, the impact of ‘Rivers of Blood’ was far‐reaching, and its influence is still apparent in contemporary debates over immigration.

KW - Enoch Powell

KW - rhetoric

KW - immigration

KW - race

KW - community

KW - national identity

U2 - 10.1111/1467-923X.12548

DO - 10.1111/1467-923X.12548

M3 - Article

VL - 89

SP - 362

EP - 369

JO - Political Quarterly

JF - Political Quarterly

SN - 0032-3179

IS - 3

ER -