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Language Use in the Public Sphere

Methodological Perspectives and Empirical Applications

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Edited By Inés Olza Moreno, Óscar Loureda Lamas and Manuel Casado

This book comprises a range of general discussions on tradition and innovation in the methodology used in discourse studies (Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Argumentation Theory, Rhetoric, Philosophy) and a number of empirical applications of such methodologies in the analysis of actual instances of language use in the public sphere – in particular, discourses arising in the context of the debate on the presence of religious symbols in public places.
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The Epideictic Nature of Prestige Newspapers: Fernando López-Pan

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FERNANDO LÓPEZ-PAN

The Epideictic Nature of Prestige Newspapers1

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the link between the prestige newspaper and the classical rhetorical category of epideixis, and to show how the epideictic dimension is a basic one in such newspapers. In other words, the focus here is not on whether epideictic texts or reports are published in the newspaper, nor on noting the presence of epideictic features, but on the description of the epideictic nature of argumentation used in the newspaper as a whole.

This thesis statement involves tracing ties between a speech genre which arose in ancient Greece and an apparently contrasting, contemporary mosaic of texts, which comprises a plurality of free-standing, interwoven pieces: a newspaper is not a form of speech, and does not reflect the traditional features of epideictic expression. Hence, as Sullivan remarked in relation to scientific discourse, “we must first grasp the genre’s dominant characteristics and then adapt the genre to the situation being investigated” (1991: 229) – in this case, the newspaper as such. Thereafter, the rhetorical-epideictic nature of prestige newspaper argumentation is addressed.

From two different perspectives, a study of this kind is of twofold interest and use: on the one hand, it explores the applicability of epideictic rhetoric to journalistic discourse; and on the other hand, journalism studies may draw on the theory of epideictic rhetoric to shed new light on the conceptualization of the structure of argumentation in the newspaper...

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