Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Language Education

Subject Categories



Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Dept of English and Applied Linguistics

Thesis Advisor

Raymund Victor M. Vitorio

Defense Panel Chair

Paolo Niño M. Valdez

Defense Panel Member

Jose Cristina M. Pariña
Marianne Jennifer M. Gaerlan


This study investigates how a local politician from the Philippines, Victor Ma. Regis “Vico” Sotto, discursively constructs a reformist identity in his State of the City Address speeches and how the strategies that facilitate such construction are instructive in teaching critical literacy. This study expands current studies about critical discourse analyses of political speeches, which have mostly focused on the discursive strategies of national-level politicians, especially those who have populist tendencies (e.g., Taiwo, 2013; Darweesh & Abdullah, 2016; Jubran, 2020; Quinonez, 2018; Khan et al., 2020) and have largely ignored the discursive construction of other types of leadership identities, such as reformist leadership, especially in non-Western and local-level political contexts. Additionally, this study bridges the gap between discourse analysis and critical literacy teaching by highlighting the potential of political speeches as pedagogical materials that can help develop critical thinking skills. Following the discourse-historical approach (Wodak, 2010) and paying close attention to the role of topoi in argumentation (Wodak, 2010), this thesis traces Sotto’s apparent attempts to create an identity for himself that matches established reformist leader characteristics (Thompson, 1995). The findings show that the speeches utilized a combination of nine topoi, most of which are present in all the speeches, to style himself as a leader who espouses reformist values. Analyzing topoi helps in understanding how Sotto effectively links his arguments to the conclusion to project a reformist identity—an image that significantly departs from patronage politics that dominates much of Philippine society. Moreover, the study uses these findings to discern how educators can employ this in teaching critical literacy (Freire, 1970) using the four-resources model: code breaker, text participant, text user, and text analyst (Luke & Freebody, 1999). This research also shows the education sector that political discourses are a potent tool for teaching critical literacy.

Keywords: reformist leader, state of the city address, argumentation and topoi, critical literacy, critical discourse analysis

Abstract Format






Physical Description

445 leaves


Critical discourse analysis; Political oratory

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