Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Definition makes the day

This recent report in the outrageously (in a both funny and tragic sense) biased Russian daily Pravda shows the power of definition. The Abkhaz government presses for a definition of the events this Friday as "Coup d'etat" - that would probably allow them to hit the opposition harder.

It is interesting though, the way they seem to tip-toe around it. The words "classified as" and "estimated" are inserted. And in a sense they function as a big index finger pointing and drawing attention to the definition and signaling that they are in doubt. For this kind of definition it is important to shout it out and not waver if it is to have effect. Does that explanation make any sense to others than me? :)

In International Relations the struggle of defining things seems central for states in conflict with each other. Two of the most notable definitions are "Sovereignty" and "Just War" - the latter a subject that would be really interesting to put in the rhetorical wringer.


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