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Argumentation and Values : an analysis of ordinary political competence via an open-ended question

Abstract : Through an analysis of answers to an open-ended question, this research seeks to demonstrate the argumentative competence of ‘laymen' in a salient issue of public debate (in this case the future of nuclear power). The hypothesis is that ordinary citizens, in their justification process, use the same type of rhetorical device that politicians do. This hypothesis can be further refined by postulating that these topoï, self-evident propositions that are shared by all and that therefore remain implicit in the enthymeme, are values. The Alceste method used here favors a statistical approach that identifies, within a given text corpus (the answers to the open-ended question), homogeneous subsets of verbatims on the basis of their lexical profile. The classes of answers garnered can be characterized by the available sociological variables in the survey, whether they are socio-demographic or attitudinal. By classifying free responses used to justify an initial stand, we can identify typical arguments. We then show how it is possible to reconstruct a rhetorical syllogism, or enthymeme, and thus attempt to retrieve the implicit value supporting the reasoning.
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Contributor : Mathieu Brugidou <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 18, 2010 - 1:43:43 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 20, 2020 - 11:16:08 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00493303, version 1




Mathieu Brugidou. Argumentation and Values : an analysis of ordinary political competence via an open-ended question. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2003, 15 (4), pp.413-430. ⟨halshs-00493303⟩



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