The aim of this article is twofold: first, to demonstrate how the use of experimental methods challenges the implicit assumption of progressive discourse analysts that ‘inspiring’ messages will have a positive effect on political attitudes and trust regardless of the recipients’ early political dispositions, and second, to examine the power of conciliatory message design to change political attitudes in favor of a peaceful solution to intractable conflicts such as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. By employing the conceptual frameworks of progressive discourse analysis and experimental critical discourse analysis, we examined the most comprehensive hypothesis formulated thus far in the literature of conflict resolution with regard to the conditions under which conciliatory messages become successful. We found that the exposure of hawkish participants to highly conciliatory messages decreases both their support for compromise-based peace and their trust in the opponent’s leader, which underlines the need for more caution on the side of peace discourse scholars when assuming that conciliatory language has the power to bring about a (positive) political change. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for critical/progressive discourse analysts, conflict resolution scholars and professionals involved in conciliatory message design.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/ or publication of this article: This research was supported by the ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 789/16).
© The Author(s) 2019.
- Experimental critical discourse analysis
- message design peace communication
- progressive/positive discourse analysis
- reconciliation discourse