Crisis Communication and crisis management during COVID-19

Wodak, Ruth (2021) Crisis Communication and crisis management during COVID-19. Global Discourse, 11 (3). pp. 329-353. ISSN 2326-9995

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This paper presents results from a comparative and qualitative discourse-historical analysis of governmental crisis communication in Austria, Germany, France, Hungary and Sweden, during the global COVID-19 pandemic lockdown from March 2020 to May 2020 (a ‘discourse strand’). By analysing a sample of important speeches and press conferences by government leaders (all performing as the ‘face of crisis management’), it is possible to deconstruct a range of discursive strategies announcing/legitimising restrictive measures in order to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic where everybody is in danger of falling ill, regardless of their status, position, education and so forth. I focus on four frames that have been employed to mitigate the ‘dread of death’ (Bauman, 2006) and counter the ‘denial of death’ (Becker, 1973/2020): a ‘religious frame’, a ‘dialogic frame’, a frame emphasising ‘trust’, and a frame of ‘leading a war’. These interpretation frameworks are all embedded in ‘renationalising’ tendencies, specifically visible in the EU member states where even the Schengen Area was suddenly abolished (in order to ‘keep the virus out’) and borders were closed. Thus, everybody continues to be confronted with national biopolitics and body politics (Wodak, 2021).

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Global Discourse
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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Global Discourse. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Author: Wodak, Ruth Source: Global Discourse: An interdisciplinary journal of current affairs, Volume 11, Number 3, May 2021, pp. 329-353(25) Publisher: Bristol University Press DOI: is available online at:
?? pandemiccritical discourse analysis – discourse-historical approachpolitical communicationframe analysisspeechcrisis communicationargumentation strategies • critical discourse analysis • discourse-historical method • family reunion • immigration • legitim ??
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19 Aug 2021 11:20
Last Modified:
06 Jun 2024 01:03