Article published in:Argumentative Style
Edited by Frans H. van Eemeren
[Journal of Argumentation in Context 10:1] 2021
► pp. 46–72
Characteristics of a detached argumentative style in public policy analysis
Text types as presentational choices
This study is a contribution to the recently introduced notion of argumentative style (van Eemeren 2019) in the framework of the pragma-dialectical approach. It aims at characterizing a detached argumentative style, by focusing on a speech event pertaining to the communicative activity type organizational discourse, a report on EU environment and climate change policies. The analysis concerns the executive summary and the key findings of the report, reconstructed in the analysis as the concluding stage of the critical discussion corresponding to the pragma-dialectical model. The notion of text type (Adam 1992) used in the analysis has allowed a more fine-grained characterization of the detached argumentative style, especially since the communicative practice under analysis displays a specific discourse format and structure for reasons of conventionalization and institutionalization. In such circumstances, determined by the type of conventionalization imposed by the context, the adoption of a detached argumentative style appears to be a pre-requisite. In the concluding stage of a critical discussion the difference of opinion is not restated, while the most significant standpoints are synthetically (re)presented by an adequate balance of narrative, descriptive and metadiscursive text strategies meant to support the objectivity, the conciseness of the presentation and also ensuring the necessary density of information required in a report summary or the presentation of key findings, respectively. While explicit negative evaluations or formulations of standpoints are avoided, the recommendations are presented as open to adoption or reconsideration by policymakers.
Keywords: argumentative style, concluding stage of the critical discussion, detached argumentative style, pragma-dialectics, text (proto)type / text sequence
- 1.Arguing as a function of documents supporting public policies
- 2.The notion of argumentative style in pragma-dialectics
- 3.The notion of text type / text sequence in the analysis of argumentative style
- 3.1The narrative text sequence
- 3.2The descriptive text sequence
- 3.3The explanatory text sequence
- 3.4Reported discourse and metadiscourse sequences
- 4.The sample under analysis as a heterogeneous communicative practice
- 5.A simplified analytic overview
- 6.Aspects of concluding maneuvering characterizing a detached argumentative style by means of text type / sequences choice
- 6.1Place and role of the Executive summary and the Key findings
- 6.2Narrative text sequences
- 6.3Descriptive text sequences
- 6.4Explanatory, metadiscursive and reported discourse text sequences
- 6.5Directiveness through narration and description
- 7.Audience expectations with respect to a scientific / technical study / report
- 8.Text types as features of a detached argumentative style in concluding maneuvering
Published online: 04 February 2021
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