Fabrizio Macagno: Levels of argument analysis and common ground manipulation
Seminários CLUL
Sala B112.C da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa

A próxima sessão do Seminário CLUL decorrerá no próximo dia 21 de fevereiro, quarta-feira, entre as 17h e as 18:30h, na sala B112.C

Fabrizio Macagno 

TituloLevels of argument analysis and common ground manipulation

Resumo : Discourse analysis and argumentation theory have often addressed complementary and interrelated challenges, in particular the analysis of arguments (Amossy, 2012; I. Fairclough & Fairclough, 2012; N. Fairclough, 1989), the implicit purpose of a discourse and its macro-structure (Taboada & Mann, 2006; Van Dijk, 1980), or the detection of potentially deceptive tactics (F. van Eemeren, 2015). However, the two fields rarely engage in a constructive dialogue. Argumentation theory mostly focuses on the theoretical aspects of argument structure, while discourse studies focus on mostly qualitative and descriptive approaches. This interaction is increasingly needed, considering the growing polarization of political debates, the development of deep disagreements, and the different strategies of manipulation of information (Rapanta, 2024) – commonly referred to as “fake news” (Blitz, 2018). How are deep disagreements constructed through discourse? How can “fake news” deceive the public? How can a discourse be persuasive or manipulative? 

The purpose of this presentation is to show how these catchy labels actually refer to complex argumentative strategies, which can be captured and analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively by combining the instruments developed in argumentation theory and transforming them in a toolbox for discourse analysis. Theoretical tools such as argumentation schemes and fallacies will be shown to be useful tools for bringing to light the strategic choices of a speaker. This approach to argumentative discourse analysis will be illustrated through the analysis of a corpus of populist leaders’ messages, focusing in particular on the tactics used for manipulating the “common ground” between the interlocutors.



Amossy, R. (2012). L’argumentation dans le discours. Armand Colin. 

Blitz, M. J. (2018). Lies, line drawing, and deep fake news. Oklahoma Law Review, 71(1), 59– 116. 

Fairclough, I., & Fairclough, N. (2012). Political discourse analysis: A method for advanced students. Routledge. 

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and Power. Longman. 

Rapanta, C. (2024). Post-Truth Argumentation. In Encyclopedia of Postdigital Science and Education (pp. 1–5). Springer Nature Switzerland. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031- 35469-4_55-1 

Taboada, M., & Mann, W. (2006). Rhetorical structure theory: Looking back and moving ahead. Discourse Studies, 8(3), 423–459. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445606061881 

Van Dijk, T. (1980). Text and context explorations in the semantics and pragmatics of discourse. Longman. 

van Eemeren, F. (2015). The Pragma-Dialectical Method of Analysis and Evaluation. In F. H. van Eemeren (Ed.), Reasonableness and Effectiveness in Argumentative Discourse: Fifty Contributions to the Development of Pragma-Dialectics (pp. 521–542). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20955-5_2