ArgLab • Seminar

Paulo Roberto Gonçalves-Segundo

Argumentative scripts: challenges and possibilities

Plantin (2008) discusses the notion of argumentative script (Fr.: argumentaire) to account for the inter-discursive nature of arguments in a controversy. To the French theorist, most arguments we employ in public controversies are inherited from this socially shared set of positions, arguments and counterarguments regarding a certain issue. In a similar vein, Goodwin (2020) incites researchers to investigate arguments at the system level. At this level, arguments are defined as abstract objects that “cannot be equated with specific makings, ‘products’ or ‘speech acts’ that instantiate them” (p. 169). System-level arguments feed the arguers’ argumentative content knowledge (Goodwin, 2019) and may be conceptualised as material (or semantic-discursive) types of their concrete textual instantiations. Our aim in this talk is to show how we have been dealing with argumentative scripts both theoretically and methodologically, discussing some challenges regarding the operationalisation of the concept and the analytical procedure. In order to illustrate the main points of the debate, we will draw on some recent public controversies in Brazil, such as the privatisation of our public postal service company (Correios), the removal of public monuments celebrating colonial figures implicated in slavery and imperialism, and the pertinence of an education bill that became known in the country as “Non-Partisan School” (Escola sem Partido).

Paulo Roberto Gonçalves-Segundo (University of São Paulo)

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