Reconstructing Interactive Argumentative Discourse

Argumentation 11 (4):419-434 (1997)

Abstract

When analysing and evaluating discourse, the discourse itself, the speech event and the activity type it represents, forces the analyst to search for a theoretical and methodological framework which is suitable for analysing the activity exposed in the data. Interactive political argumentation demands both a theory of argumentation and a theory of spoken language to fully grasp what is going on in the discourse. The pragma-dialectical argumentation theory offers both analytical and evaluative tools, but rests upon a reconstruction of the argumentative discourse which is hierarchical and static. If applied to interactive argumentation this kind of reconstruction will not reveal interactive aspects of the parties' argumentation. On the other hand, conversation analysis, which concentrates on interactive aspects of the discourse, does not offer a tool for the evaluation of the quality of each party's argumentation.

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