Dialectical Citizenship?: Some Thoughts on the Role of Pragmatics in the Analysis of Public Debate

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    This paper examines public debate as a hierarchical system where dialectical exchanges are seen as embedded in rhetorical exchanges. The dialectical exchanges are conversations and can be analysed as a social, rule-governed form of behaviour involving communicative roles such as protagonist and antagonist. Such dialectical exchanges, in turn, are treated as being in the service of a higher, rhetorically oriented relationship between the media as institution and the media audience.


    As the over-arching rhetorical exchange influences the function of the dialectical exchange in various ways, I suggest that it is fruitful to integrate the notion of embeddedness in studies of public debate as a particular form of discourse. Whereas theories of pragmatics provide useful insights in understanding conversational negotiation of argument structure and general acceptability as a form of tacit acceptance of a cooperative norm at the dialectical level, these insights are only useful once the overlying, rhetorical level is integrated into the analysis.


    Emneord: Dialectics, Pragmatics, Debate, Rhetorics
    Periode10 okt. 2008
    BegivenhedstitelRhetorical Citizenship and Public deliberation
    PlaceringKøbenhavn, DanmarkVis på kort