National Rhetorics in the Syrian Immigration Crisis: Victims, Frauds, and Floods

Представяне на книги

Book Review

Ivanka Mavrodieva

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”


The title of the book refers to the significant topics of the current day –the Syrian Immigration Crisis – allowing the reader to receive additional information following the popular rhetorical figures of climax or gradation: Victims, Frauds, and Floods. The book investigates the manifestations of national rhetoric during the Syrian Immigration Crisis in the different countries presented chronologically on the content page of the book: Turkey, Serbia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Germany, The United Kingdom, Finland, Japan, and the United States.

The book contains ten papers and the contributors are: Ashlyn Edde, Elisa I. Hörtager, Ellen Gorsevski, Jaroslaw Jańczak, Yiannis Karayiannis, Hatice Coban Kenes, Julia Khrebtan- Hörtager, Kathleen Kirkland, Anthoula Malkopoulou, Ivana Cvetkovic Miller, Kaori Miyawaki, Heino Nyyssönen, Andrée E. Reeves, Clarke Rountree, Inan Ozdemir Tastan and Jouni Tilli. Five papers were written by one author and five – by two or three authors. The book displays the features of a collective monograph that brings together texts focused on national rhetoric about immigrants from different countries on three continents (Europe, Asia, North America). The collection (337 pages) is the result of successful scientific networking with regard to significant and current topics.

Published by Michigan State University Press in 2019, the book is edited by Clarke Rountree and Jouni Tilli. Among its strong points are the introduction and conclusion as well as the index and the presentations of the contributors. The personal and academic correctness is visible in the ‘Acknowledgments’ section, which presents the motivation, the support, the research networks as well as the process of preparing, editing and printing the book.

National Rhetorics in the Syrian Immigration Crisis

Every single paper is unique and at the same time the structure of the papers allows to include basic historical, geo-political, economic, and legal information about the countries, which helps readers to understand the complex situations and specific factors. More precisely put, the authors analyse the personal backgrounds of political leaders and statesmen in the specific context, for example Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, etc. The authors have established the balance between analysis of the situations, context, specific circumstances, responsibilities and roles of the political orators. The selections of speeches, statements, ceremonial addresses (p. 117), media presentations and publications refer to the Syrian Immigration Crisis. The corpora are prepared correctly, and the citations play multiple roles: they are illustrations and at the same time they are proofs which confirm the conclusion regarding specific rhetorical performances about immigrants and refugees. Terminology has been used precisely and the authors explain the meaning of terms such as rhetoric, discourse, migrants, refugees, etc.

It is reasonable to emphasise the contribution to the modern rhetorical heritage the book makes. The authors describe scientific fields or sub-fields of political rhetoric – presidential rhetoric, state rhetoric, leader’s rhetoric, national rhetoric, migration rhetoric, immigration rhetoric, anti-migration rhetoric, rhetoric in connection with refugees, etc. The papers examine new manifestations of rhetoric and reasonably they highlight the specific situation: Viktor Orban’s Anti-Brussels Rhetoric in Hungary (pp. 97-124) or The Polish Political Elite’s (Anti-)Immigration Rhetoric (pp. 125-152).

At the same time, we can conclude that some of the researchers use multidisciplinary approaches, for example Japan’s Prime Minister Abe on the Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Discourse of Sending but Not Accepting (pp. 247-268), Serbian Migration Rhetoric: They are Only Passing Through (pp. 43-68), Immigration Rhetoric of Political Leaders in Turkey (pp. 1-42), Political Rhetoric in the Refugee Crisis in Greece (69-96), Finish Discourses on Immigration, 2015-2016: Descendants of Ishmael, Welfare Surfers, and Economic Assets (pp. 217-248), The United Kingdom’s Rhetoric of Immigration Management (pp. 189-216), The United States Immigration Rhetoric amid the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Presidents, Precedents, and Portents (pp. 269-304).

The methods used by the authors of the papers are modern and effective. The investigations include analyses of rhetoric figures, tropes, verbal tools and arguments but the majority of the researchers enlarge the scope and volume and they examine political, economic, media, cultural, religious factors as well as specific features on a national, party, and personal level. Another group of researchers focuses on personal behavior and specific rhetorical aims and purposes, for example: Erdogan’s Humanitarian Immigration Rhetoric and the Power of the Guest-Host Metaphor (pp. 11-19), Viktor Orban and the European Union (pp. 110-116), Samaras and Tsipras in Greece (pp. 82-86) and ‘smuggled immigration” (p. 78); Theresa May, Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom (pp. 206-208).

The appendix of the paper The United States Immigration Rhetoric amid the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Presidents, Precedents, and Portents including the table and summary of pro-, neutral, and anti- immigrant US Legislation (pp. 292-297) is useful as it describes briefly the results of a multifaceted analysis.

Summarizing, we can conclude that the book is a detailed and extended contribution to the studies of national and migration rhetoric. Additionally, some basic ideas of political rhetoric are reconceptualized within the current contexts in ten countries on the topics of migrants, immigrants, refugees and among them are the rhetorical tools and arguments in political and media discourses.

Further proof of the detailed studies of national rhetoric can be found in the chapters concerning Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, etc. The authors probe deeply into the matter of their studies and that gives them the advantage of applying an interesting approach to the systematization of the manifestations of rhetoric in a way that is an inseparable part of the modern rhetorical heritage.

To conclude with, the book National Rhetorics in the Syrian Immigration Crisis: Victims, Frauds, and Floods is a contribution to modern rhetorical studies. It should also be considered as a valuable aid for university students of political sciences, diplomacy, political rhetoric, law, media studies etc.

Manuscript was submitted: 19.09.2019.

Accepted: 10.10.2019

Сп. „Реторика и комуникации“, брой 41, октомври 2019 г.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, Issue 41, October 2019