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Appraising Fairclough and Fairclough’s Model on Conductive Argumentation
Appraising Fairclough and Fairclough’s model on conductive argumentation
The recognition of the intertwined, dialectical relationship between language and politics has led to the increasing popularity of the study of political discourse (PD) since the 1970s, when the significance of language, linguistic action and, in turn, linguistics convinced a number of scholars to recognize, either explicitly or implicitly, a linguistic turn in the humanities and social sciences. In the same vein, Fairclough and Fairclough (2012), inspired by Aristotle and modern political theory, introduce a model into Political Discourse Analysis (PDA) on the basis of deliberation and conductive argumentation (reasoning). Their model explains as to how under a certain set of circumstances and goals, fueled by certain values, a certain type of action can be recommended, or is considered as the right one. Thus, ontologically speaking, practical argumentation is a teleological, pragmatic account of discourse including PD, for it is oriented toward the end result of the given argument: a call for action. In this bottom-up model for argumentation-based PDA, beliefs, values, and concerns construct the very basis of goals and actions, and of arguing for taking a particular action at the cost of leaving out its alternatives. This study is aimed at appraising the efficacy and adequacy of Fairclough and Fairclough’s (2012) model on conductive argumentation through examining Trump’s UN speech on Iran in 2017 in the light of other mainstream analytic tools and frameworks of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). To this end, three steps are taken. First, the model is applied to President Trump’s address regarding Iran in 2017 to the United Nations General Assembly; then, Trump’s conductive argumentation is evaluated in the light of the model; and finally, an attempt is made to critically appraise the model in the light of other seminal analytic tools and frameworks. Data-wise, through the bottom-up schematization of the Trump’s speech discoursal analysis, it is shown how a peaceful Middle East and world for all including Iranians –as a value, belief and concern underlying Trump’s argument – can lead the addressor and the addresses he envisages to the goal: establishing a peaceful Middle East and world in the context of the Iran’s state pursuing “dictatorship” and “destabilizing activities” in the region (Trump’s speech). The Means-Goal (MG) relationship is also clarified: the only way of stopping the Iran's state “corrupt dictatorship” and “destabilizing activities” (G) is confronting it (M). All these, in turn, could contribute to the call for action: confronting “the Iranian regime.” This corroborates Fairclough and Fairclough’s (2012) contention that practical arguments normally avail of goals and circumstances as premises, and that how the circumstances goals in question fueled by certain values can incorporate to the realization of the measures suggested to be taken by the addressor. The findings suggest that the model is a step toward including the cognitive interface in PDA, and that the premises adduced in Trump’s speech could serve the purpose of delegitimizing Iranian government and ‘Iranoregimephobia’, hence calling for confronting Iran. It is concluded that if integrated with other approaches, the model could serve to possibly counter-balance the subjectivity and skepticism associated with CDA-oriented studies, thus possibly proving itself as a practical, effective, and informative tool for the critical study of political discourse.