Publication details [#62108]

Zuczkowski, Andrzej, Ilaria Riccioni, Ramona Bongelli and Laura Vincze. 2016. Ignorance-unmasking questions in the Royal–Sarkozy presidential debate: A resource to claim epistemic authority. Discourse Studies 18 (4) : 430–453.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
SAGE Publications


This paper proposes an assay of the manners in which knowledge is exhibited, challenged and renegotiated in the 2007 French presidential debate between Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy. Knowledge displays can be attained via a set of ‘neutral’ resources, like informing, explanation or comment, or via face-injuring resources, like questioning an ignorant interlocutor to evidence his subordinate epistemic status (K−) and uplift one’s own. The paper centers on this latter type of knowledge display where a well-informed participant (K+) engages in question–answer sequences with an ignorant respondent (K−) in front of a third party (the audience). The paper also explores the multimodal strategies used by the (K+) participant to discredit the (K−) adversary (ironic smiles and laughter). The paper aims to add to the extant literature on epistemic stance by providing a prototypical example of incongruence between the questioner's epistemic status (K+) and the epistemic stance he assumes (unknowing K).