TWEET AND TALK: STANCE OF TWITTER DISCUSSANTS ON THE CANDIDACY OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES THAT DECLARED FOR THE 2023 ELECTION
AbstractTweets on political issues continue to generate interest dues to consistent change in political dispensations and leadership. This study investigates stance-taking in the evaluation of presidential candidates for the 2023 election. It adopts Appraisal/Stance, Pragmatic Acts and Jeffries’ Critical Stylistics as theories to analyse forty-five tweets on the candidacy of the presidential candidates, purposively selected and copied from Twitter handles. Five bidirectional identities of presidential candidates are identified, using conceptual-textual functions, evaluation of attitude and Pragmatic Acts. These are, the presidential candidate as ‘messiah’, ‘mobiliser’, ‘popular/unpopular candidate’, ‘contender’ and ‘public-self welfarist’. Findings also reveal affect strategies like 'assessment of personality traits', 'assessment of positive and negative attribute', 'evaluation, and (or) verbalisation of emotions'. For judgement the strategies found include 'declaration of faction; contradiction; social expectations'; 'assessment of competence or ability'; 'assessment and verbalisation of attributes, behaviour, national quality' and 'candidacy endorsement, precedent (political) performances and projects.' The study concludes that the social media is the electorates’ platform for engaging, assessing, and critiquing the candidacy of presidential candidates to affect enthusiasts’ eventual choice of whom to vote for during the election.
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