The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a unique global experience, arousing both exclu-sionary nationalistic and inclusionary responses of solidarity. This article aims to explore thediscursive and linguistic means by which the COVID-19 pandemic, as a macro-event, hasbeen translated into local micro-events. The analysis studies the global pandemic through theinitial statements of 29 leading political actors across four continents. The aim is to examinediscursive constructions of solidarity and nationalism through the social representation ofinclusion/exclusion of in-, out-, and affiliated groups. The comparative analysis is based onthe theoretical and methodological framework of the socio-cognitive approach to criticaldiscourse analysis and is informed by argumentation theory and nationalism studies. Theresults of our analysis suggest that leaders have constructed the virus as the main outgroupthrough the metaphors of the pandemic-as-war and the pandemic-as-movement which haveentered the national space. Faced with this threat, these speeches have discursively con-structed the nation-as-a-team as the main in-group and prioritized (1) a vertical type ofsolidarity based on nationhood and according to governmental plans; (2) exclusionary soli-darity against rule-breakers; (3) horizontal solidarity that is both intergenerational and amongfamily members, and (4) transnational solidarity. It is not by chance that the world stands asa relevant affiliated group that needs to forcibly collaborate in order to face the main out-group, the virus itself. A major consensus has been found in constructing the out-group. Incontrast, the linguistic and discursive constructions of in-groups and their affiliates display agreater variation, depending upon the prevalent discursive practices and social context withindifferent countries.
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