Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Yanira Paz

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Richard Lauersdorf


This dissertation explores populist discourse in the June 2016 Spanish election campaign through the construction and analysis of a corpus of political speeches. As a result of the economic, social, and institutional crisis that began in 2008, Spain underwent a governmental restructuring with two new parties PODEMOS (Unidas Podemos) and CIUDADANOS (C’s). This transformation breaks with the classic political model, which alternated power between PARTIDO POPULAR (Popular Party) and PSOE (The Spanish Socialist Party). In my research, I analyze discursive strategies employed by the leading Spanish political parties to discover how PODEMOS differs linguistically and discursively from other groups. I argue that this party builds a new hegemony to restructure conventional political discourse. The leader, through the resource of mitificación (mythification), represents the Spanish political process as a struggle between "those from above" (neoliberalism and its allies) versus "those from below" (the people and PODEMOS). The use of this warlike conceptual metaphor favors the illegitimatizing of political opponents and their policies while validating and empowering his party.

The study combines three different analytical approaches: corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis (CDA), and social theory. Quantitative results related to frequency counts, keywords, and collocations were gathered through corpus linguistics and subsequently analyzed qualitatively in context through CDA. From a quantitative perspective, the corpus will help determine the linguistic patterns of keywords and frequencies from each political group to add the necessary empirical support to the study. From a qualitative perspective, the collocation tool in the corpus will help determine if the PODEMOS politicians use their rhetoric to build popularity and national identity of the united people, emptying symbols of their significant meaning and proposing a re-signification. Although studies on political discourse and populism have proliferated in Hispanic linguistics in recent years, there are no works that incorporate corpus linguistics as a heuristic tool. Finally, it is essential to emphasize that this project results in a new approach within Hispanic linguistics that combines qualitative and quantitative tools to analyze Spanish political discourse.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

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