Edited by Cornelia Ilie and Giuliana Garzone
[Argumentation in Context 10] 2017
► pp. 229–258
Television debates are a tool of public deliberation through which ordinary citizens can get involved in deliberative democracy. They are argumentative events in which standpoints about a controversial issue are raised, defended, and criticized. By adopting the pragma-dialectical approach to argumentation (van Eemeren & Houtlosser, 2005; van Eemeren, 2010), this paper aims to characterize a multi-participant TV debate (MPTD) as an argumentative activity type. Argumentative characterization of an MPTD involves, first of all, providing a detailed description of the institutional constraints imposed on the argumentative practices in this activity type, and next, distinguishing in MPTD the empirical counterparts of the four stages of a critical discussion. For illustration, the paper draws its examples from Siyaset Meydanı, an MPTD that had a long broadcasting history in Turkey. As a result of the characterization achieved in this paper, it is concluded that an MPTD is a moderately-conventionalized deliberative activity type preconditioned by both implicit and explicit norms governing the conduct of argumentation.