In Context: Giving Contextualization its Rightful Place in the Study of Argumentation

Argumentation 25 (2):141-161 (2011)
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‘In Context’ is aimed at giving contextualization its rightful place in the study of argumentation. First, Frans H. van Eemeren explains the crucial role of context in a reconstructive analysis of argumentative discourse. He distinguishes four levels of contextualization. Second, he situates his approach to context in the field of argumentation studies by comparing it with Walton’s approach. He emphasizes the importance of distinguishing clearly between a normatively motivated theoretical ideal model and empirically-based communicative activity types. Third, van Eemeren concentrates on the ‘macro-level’ of contextualization: contextualization in institutionalized communicative activity types. He makes clear that the macro-context of a communicative activity type can be characterized argumentatively by describing the disctinctive features of the empirical counterparts of the four stages of a critical discussion in the activity type concerned. Fourth, he points out what the consequences of the macrocontextualization of argumentative discourse in a certain communicative activity type are for the strategic maneuvering that may takes place and the identification of fallacies as derailments of strategic maneuvering. Fifth, van Eemeren draws some general conclusions regarding the role of contextualization in the analysis and evaluation of argumentative discourse



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