Social and local meanings in casual argumentative discourses: a sociopragmatic approach

Luisa Granato, Alejandro Parini

Universiad de Belgrano, Argentina


This paper presents a critical exploration of how meanings, both local and social, are constructed through the production of casual argumentative discourses. The empirical evidence comes form the analysis of a corpus which consists of twenty four informal conversations among university students, between 20 and 26 years of age. The conversations are analyzed from a sociopragmatic perspective to find out whether meanings and social identities can arise from articulating individual participations in social groupings which may not meet the necessary constitutive requirements of related constructs such as the community of practice, the speech community, social networks and intergroup theory. We argue that interaction in these groupings with no specific pre-established shared aim or even previous knowledge of the participants, constitutes a social practice in which meaning can be accounted for in terms of both the age and the specific activity of the interactants. The results obtained show that the parameters considered provide an adequate and special setting for the social negotiations of the speakers in which the role of language highlights the dynamism of identity management as individuals position themselves in allegiance with, or opposition to one another, and to various groups that populate their social landscape.

Session: Paper session
Discourse 8
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 11