Chapter published in:Contextualizing Pragma-Dialectics
Edited by Frans H. van Eemeren and Wu Peng
[Argumentation in Context 12] 2017
► pp. 335–359
Analysing multimodal argumentation within the pragma-dialectical framework
Strategic manoeuvring in the front covers of The Economist
In this chapter, I argue that the theoretical assumptions and concrete analytical concepts of Pragma-dialectics constitute a fertile ground for the study of visual and multimodal argumentation. This is primarily because the pragma-dialectical theory takes a procedural, pragmatic and functional approach to the study of argumentation which allows it to incorporate insights from the growing field of multimodal discourse analysis. Within the pragma-dialectical approach, next to the evidentiary function of visual images other argumentative functions can be researched, such as the use of images to advance a standpoint, to criticize, to explain and to draw attention to various aspects of the argumentative procedure. It is also argued that Pragma-dialectics can accommodate insights from multimodal analysis in order to account for the meaning conveyed not only by the verbal and visual content but also by the verbal and visual style as well as by the interplay of the various semiotic modes. Moreover, its focus on the institutional constraints and possibilities of a variety of communicative practices makes it possible not only to consider the context in a systematic way in order to reconstruct multimodal argumentative discourse but also to describe specific argumentative activity types which employ images and text. As a case in point, I analyse a series of front covers from The Economist in order to show how the interplay of image and text amounts to strategic manoeuvring.
Keywords: argumentative activity types, argumentative moves, dialectical transformations, front covers, multimodal argumentation, principles of communication, reconstruction, strategic manoeuvring
Published online: 12 December 2017
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Serafis, Dimitris, Sara Greco, Chiara Pollaroli & Chiara Jermini-Martinez Soria
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van Eemeren, Frans H.
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