[Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 9:2] 2021
► pp. 297–323
This paper explores disagreement practice in political discourse, specifically in the under explored public inquiry communicative event and more specifically in the select-committee hearing. We revisit earlier work on theorising disagreement to expand our understanding of its contextual nature, particularly in relation to the making of ideology.
Public inquiries combine the characteristics of professional meetings with characteristics of political discourse. They are typified by hybridised and ambiguous role expectations which participants negotiate in and through (potentially competing) practices in doing the ideological work demanded by the policy process. In this context, disagreement emerges as key to the performance of the interactants’ situated and explicit/semi-permanent roles as professional politicians.
By applying Critical Interactional Sociolinguistic analysis within a wider frame of audience design, we demonstrate the importance of the ideological role of disagreement to the policy process. We argue that further attention needs to be given to the policy talk in meso-level political events, such as the public inquiry, which connect the ideological (macro) political domains of human activity with the (micro) here and now of talk. We close the paper with directions for further research.