Strategic Maneuvering for Political Change

A pragma-dialectical analysis of Egyptian anti-regime columns

| Ain Shams University, Egypt
ISBN 9789027202383 | EUR 90.00 | USD 135.00
ISBN 9789027262806 | EUR 90.00 | USD 135.00

In Strategic Maneuvering for Political Change, the author analyzes five political columns written before 2011 by Al Aswany, a prominent Egyptian novelist, using the lens of the extended pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation. What these texts have in common is the use of narrative, fictional and semi-literary techniques to strategically maneuver in supporting the feasibility of political change. It is a contribution to explain how an anti-regime writer paved the way to the Arab Spring in Egypt, and thus goes against a common opinion that the Arab Spring in Egypt was fortuitous or a wholly social-media-based movement.

This monograph is an attempt to help argumentation theorists, linguists, analysts of narratives, and political scientists better understand and evaluate how fiction and narration can be effective means of persuasion in the domain of political communication. It therefore reconsiders the non-straightforward and artistic variants of the language of politics.

[Argumentation in Context, 16]  2019.  ix, 188 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Al Aswany’s call for democracy in the Al Shorouk columns
Chapter 3. An argumentative characterization of Egyptian political columns
Chapter 4. Strategic maneuvering with arguments from example: The “active people” topic
Chapter 5. Strategic maneuvering by means of a narrative perspective: The “defeatable police” topic
Chapter 6. Strategic maneuvering by means of an allegorical fable: The “victorious protesters” topic
Chapter 7. Conclusion
Appendix A. Egypt awakened
Appendix B. The coming civil disobedience on April 6th.
Appendix C. An unfortunate incident befalling a state security officer
Appendix D. Why was the general screaming?
Appendix E. A story for children and adults
Index of Names
Index of Terms


Alonso, I.
(2007) Newspaper editorials and comment articles: A Cinderella genre? Revista Electrónica de Linguística Aplicada, 1, 1–9.
Amossy, R.
(2001) Ethos at the crossroads of disciplines: Rhetoric, pragmatics, and sociology. Poetics Today 22(1), 1–23. Crossref link
Auer, J. J.
(1962) The counterfeit debates. In S. Kraus (Ed.), The great debates: Background, perspective, effects (pp.142–150). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Arthos, J.
(2003) Where there are no rules or systems to guide us: Argument from example in hermeneutic rhetoric. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 89(4), 320–344. Crossref link
Aswany, A.
(2011) On the state of Egypt (J. Wright, Trans.). Cairo/NY: The American University in Cairo Press.
(2006) The Yacoubian Building (Humphrey Davies, Trans.). NY: Harpercollins
Baker, R. W.
(1990) Sadat and after: Struggles for Egyptian political soul. London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd Publishers. Crossref link
Baldick, C.
(2008) Oxford dictionary of literary terms. New York: Oxford University Press.
Beckson, K. & Ganz, A.
(1975) Literary Terms: A Dictionary. New York. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Beinin, F.
(2009) Workers’ struggles under ‘socialism’ and ‘neoliberalism’. In R. Mahdi, & P. Marfleet, P. (Eds.), Egypt: Moment of change (pp.87–102). Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.
Bernaerts, L.
(2010) Cuckoo’s Nest: Elements of a narrative speech-act analysis. Narrative, 18(3), 276–299. Crossref link
Black, E.
(1970) The second persona. The Quarterly Journal of Speech LVI (2), 109–119. Crossref link
Blackham, H. J.
(1985) The fable as literature. London: The Atholne Press.
Booth, W.
(1961) The rhetoric of fiction. Chicago/London: The Chicago University Press.
Brownlee, J.
(2002) The decline of pluralism in Mubarak’s Egypt. Journal of Democracy, 13(4), 6–14. Crossref link
Chatman, S.
(1978) Story and discourse: Narrative structure in fiction and film. Lthaca: Cornell University Press.
Conboy, M.
(2004) Journalism: A critical history. London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage.
Crisp, P.
(2001) Allegory: Conceptual metaphor in history. Language and Literature, 10(1), 5–19. Crossref link
Currie, G.
(1990) The nature of fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crossref link
Dearing, J. & Rogers, E.
(1996) Agenda setting. London/New Delhi: Sage.
Demon, K.
(1997) A paradigm for the analysis of paradigms: The rhetorical exemplum in ancient and imperial Greek theory. Rhetorica, 15 (2), 125–158. Crossref link
van Dijk, T. A.
van Eemeren, F. H.
(2010) Strategic maneuvering in argumentative discourse: Extending the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref link
(2011) In context: Giving contextualization its rightful place in the study of argumentation. Argumentation, 25, 141–161. Crossref link
(2016) Identifying argumentative patterns: A vital step in the development of pragma-dialectics. Argumentation, 30, 1–23. Crossref link
van Eemeren, F. H. & Garssen, B.
(2013) Argumentative patterns of discourse. In Virtues of argumentation: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation [Online Source].
van Eemeren, F. H. & Grootendorst, R.
(1984) Speech acts in argumentative discussions. Berlin/Dordrecht: De Gruyter/Floris. Crossref link
(1992) Argumentation, communication, and fallacies: A pragma-dialectical perspective. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum..
(2004) A Systematic Theory of argumentation: The pragma-dialectical approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
van Eemeren, F. H. & Houtlosser, R.
(2002) Strategic manoeuvring: Maintaining a delicate balance. In F. H. van Eemeren & Houtlosser, P. (Eds.), Dialectic and Rhetoric: The Warp and Woof of Argumentation Analysis (pp.131–160). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. Crossref link
van Eemeren, F. H. & Houtlosser, P.
(2005a) More about an arranged marriage. In C. A. Willard (Ed.), Critical problems in argumentation: Selected papers from the 13th Biennial Conference on Argumentation Sponsored by the American Forensic Association and National Communication Association August, 2003 (pp.345–355). Washington, DC: National Communication Association.
(2005b) Theoretical construction and argumentative reality: An analytic model of critical discussion and conventionalized types of argumentative activity. In D. Hitchcock (Ed.), The uses of argument: Proceedings of a Conference at McMaster University (pp.75–84). Hamilton, Ontario: Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation.
(2006) Strategic maneuvering: A synthetic recapitulation. Argumentation, 20, 381–392. Crossref link
van Eemeren, F. H., Houtlosser, P. & Snoeck Henkemans, A. F.
(2002) Argumentation: Analysis, evaluation, presentation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
(2007) Argumentative indicators in discourse: A pragma-dialectical study. Dordrecht: Springer. Crossref link
Freeley, A. J., & Steinberg, D. L.
(2005) Argumentation and debate: Critical thinking for reasoned decision making. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Friend, S.
(2008) Imagining fact and fiction. In K. Stock & K. Thomson-Jones (Eds.), New waves in aesthetics (pp.150–169). Basingstoke: Palgrave. Crossref link
García-Carpintero, M.
(2013) Norms of fiction-making. British Journal of Aesthetics, 53(3), 339–357. Crossref link
Gardaz, M.
(2009) The path of jihad in The Yacoubian building. Journal of Religion and Film, 13(1), 4–14.
Garssen, B.
(1997) Argumentatieschema’s in pragma-dialectisch perspectief: Een theoretisch en empirisch onderzoek. Doctoral dissertation. University of Amsterdam.
Gâţă, A.
(2017) [Review of the dissertation Strategic maneuvering in supporting the feasibility of political change: A pragma-dialectical analysis of Egyptian anti-regime columns by A. Omar]. Journal of Argumentation in Context 6(2), pp.254–259. Crossref link
Ghabra, S.
(2015) The Egyptian revolution: Causes and dynamics. In L. Sadiki (Ed.), Routledge handbook of the Arab Spring: Rethinking democratization (pp.199–214). London/New York: Routledge.
González Rodríguez, M. J.
(2007) On the interpretation of ideology through comment articles: two views in opinion discourse. Revista Electrónica de Lingüística Aplicada, 1, 49–68
Govier, T. & Ayers, L.
(2012) Logic, parables and argument. Informal Logic, 32(2), 161–189. Crossref link
Gramsci, A.
(1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks. NY: International Publishers.
Hollihan, T. & Baaske, K.
(1994) Arguments and arguing. New York: Waveland Press.
Hudson, R. A.
(1996) Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crossref link
Jacobs, R. N. & Townsley, E.
(2011) The space of opinion: Media intellectuals and the public sphere. New York: Oxford University Press. Crossref link
James, H.
(1948) The art of fiction and other essays. New York: Oxford University Press.
Jones, C. J.
(1980) Mass media codes of ethics and councils. Paris: UNESCO.
Kassem, M.
(2004) Egyptian politics: The dynamics of authoritarian rule. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Khatib, L.
(2010) Arab film and Islamic fundamentalism. In J. Curran (Ed.), Media and society (pp.316–334). London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Kjeldsen, J. E.
(2017) The real Rhetorical Audience. In A. Runjić-Stoilova & G. Varošanec-Škarić, (Eds.) New Insights into Rhetoric and Argumentation (pp.19–39). Split: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M.
(1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Lanser, S. S.
(1981) The narrative act: Point of view in prose fiction. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Lasswell, H. D.
(1927) Propaganda technique in the World War. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Levinson, S. C.
(1992) Activity types and language. In P. Drew & J. Heritage (Eds.), Talk at work: Interaction in institutional settings (pp.66–100). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Lubbock, P.
(1975) The craft of fiction. NY: The Viking Press. (Original work published in 1921)
Lynch, M.
(2008) Political opportunity structures: Effects of the Arab media. In K. Hafez (Ed.), Arab media: Power and weakness (pp.17–32). New York: Continuum.
Mahdi, R.
(2009) The democracy movement: Cycles of protest. In R. Mahdi & P. Marfleet (Eds.), Egypt: Moment of change (pp.87–102). Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.
Martel, M.
(1983) Political campaign debates: Images, strategies, tactics. New York, NY: Longman.
Mazid, B. M.
(2009) Date palms, language and the power of knowledge: An analysis of a fable from Kalila and Dimna. Journal of Pragmatics, 41, 2515–2534
Mcquail, D.
(1997) Audience analysis. London/New Delhi: Sage.
Musolff, A.
(2004) Metaphor and political discourse: Analogical reasoning in debates about Europe. Hampshire, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Crossref link
Omar, A.
(2016a) Maneuvering strategically by means of an allegorical beast fable in political communication. In D. Mohamed & M. Lewinski (Eds.), Argumentation and Reasoned Action: Proceedings of the 1st. European conference on argumentation, Lisbon, June 9-12, 2015. Volume II (pp.579–594). London: College Publications.
(2016b) Strategic maneuvering in supporting the feasibility of political change: A pragma-dialectical analysis of Egyptian anti-regime columns. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Amsterdam.
(2018) The strategic use of examples in supporting a positive evaluation of a political group. In S. Oswald & D. Maillat (Eds.), Argumentation and inference. Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Argumentation, Fribourg June 20-23, 2017. Volume II (pp.755–768). London: College Publications.
(in press). The strategic use of argumentation from example in re-evaluating a people: The case of Al Aswany’s pro-democratization columns. Journal of Argumentation in Context.
Perelman, C. & Olbrechts-Tyteca, L.
(1969) The new rhetoric: A treatise on argumentation. (J. Wilkinson & P. Weaver, Trans.). London: University of Notre Dame Press. (Original work published in 1958)
Pilgram, R.
(2015) A doctor’s argument by authority: An analytical and empirical study of strategic manoeuvring in medical consultation. Doctoral dissertation. University of Amsterdam.
Plug, H. J.
(2017) The strategic use of argumentation from example in plenary debates in the European Parliament. In F. H. van Eemeren & Peng, W. (Eds.) Contextualizing Pragma-Dialectics (pp.159–177). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Crossref link
Putnam, L., Wilson, S. & Turner, D.
(1990) The evolution of policy arguments in teachers’ negotiations. Argumentation, 4, 129–152. Crossref link
Richter, C.
(2008) The effects of Islamist media on the mainstream press in Egypt. In K. Hafez (Ed.), Arab media: Power and weakness (pp.46–68). New York: Continuum.
Riffe, D., Lacy, S. & Fico, F. G.
(1998) Analyzing media messages: Using quantitative content analysis in research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Salisbury, H.
(1988) A time of change: A reporter’s tale of our time. New York: Harper & Row.
Schank, R. & Abelson, R.
(1977) Scripts, plans, goals and Understanding: An inquiry into human knowledge structures. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Schmid, W.
(2010) Narratology: An introduction. New York: Walter de Gruyter. Crossref link
Searle, J. R.
(1975) The logical status of fictional discourse. New Literary History, 6 (2), 319–332. Crossref link
(1995) The construction of social realty. London: Penguin.
Shapiro, S.
(2009) Revolution: Facebook-style. The New York Times Magazine. (22/1/2009).
Soliman, S.
(2011) The autumn of dictatorship: Fiscal crisis and political change in Egypt under Mubarak. (P. Daniel, Trans.) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Sparks, C. & Campell, C.
(1987) The inscribed reader of the British quality press. European journal of communication, 2, 455–472. Crossref link
Stableford, B.
(2009) The A to Z of fantasy literature. Maryland/Toronto/Oxford: The Scarecrow Press.
Stewart, S.
(1991) Notes on distressed genres. The Journal of American Folklore, 104, 5–31. Crossref link
Swedenburg, T.
(2012) Imagined Youths. In R. Mahdi, & P. Marfleet, P. (Eds.), Egypt: Moment of change (pp.285–294). Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.
Tabishat, M.
(2012) Society in cinema: Anticipating the revolution in Egyptian fiction and movies. Social Research, 79(2), 377–396.
Talisse, R.
(2012) Deliberation In D. Estlund (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of political philosophy. NY: Oxford University Press. Crossref link
Tarouty, S.
(2015) Businessmen, clientelism, and authoritarianism in Egypt. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Crossref link
Tartoussieh, K.
(2012) The Yacoubian Building: A slice of pre-January 25 Egyptian society? Cinema Journal, 52(1), 156–159. Crossref link
Uspensky, B.
(1973) A poetics of composition: The structure of the artistic text and typology of a compositional form. (V. Zavarin & S. Wittig, Trans.). Berkley, CA: University of California Press.
Walton, D.
(1990) Practical reasoning: Goal-driven, knowledge-based action-guiding argumentation. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
Walton, K.
(1990) Mimesis and make-believe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Younis, S.
(2014) Hal Kanat al-Thawrah Tahwul Demoqrati: al-Dawlah wa al-Thawrah wa al-Demoqratiyyah [Was the revolution a democratic transition? State, revolution, and democracy]. al-Demoqratiyyah [Journal of Democracy], 56, 50–56.
Ziegelmuller, G. & Dause, C.
(1975) Argumentation: inquiry and advocacy. Englewood, Cliffs, NJ: Printence-Hall.

Communication Studies

Communication Studies

Literature & Literary Studies

Theoretical literature & literary studies


BIC Subject: CFG – Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
BISAC Subject: LAN009030 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Pragmatics
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2018049088