An integrated approach to non-verbal performance in the Hybrid Political Interview

Damian J. Rivers, Andrew S. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


During the National Policy Institute's (NPI) 2016 annual conference, Director Richard Spencer gave a speech in praise of the election victory of President Donald Trump. Spencer concluded his address proclaiming, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail Victory!” after which several audience members were recorded performing Nazi salutes. Three days after the conference speech, Spencer was an invited guest on the NewsOne Now programme where he participated in a 32-min televised interview with black journalist, host and managing editor of the programme Roland Martin. Using the Martin/Spencer interview as a case study, this article draws from Ekman's (2004) taxonomy of non-verbal behavior to examine the contribution of non-verbal performance to the Hybrid Political Interview (HPI) (Hutchby, 2011, 2017). While the linguistic properties of the HPI have been detailed, the attention given to the non-verbal performance of the participants has been underwhelming even though most HPIs are televised events. Our analysis focuses upon three specific action-opposition sequences in which Martin and Spencer cycle back-and-forth between interview and argument conventions. Within these sequences we demonstrate how non-verbal performance provides an additional layer of analysis and understanding as part of an integrated approach alongside the linguistic features of the HPI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


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