The Development of Controversies: From the Early Modern Period to Online Discussion Forums

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The Development of Controversies: From the Early Modern Period to Online Discussion Forums (published in 2010) is the doctoral thesis of Dr. Khorasani written under the uaspices of Professor Dr. Andreas H. Jucker at Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany. This volume describes the communicative background of two online discussion forums dedicated to the study of historical arms and armor. Then, the volume analyzes the similarities and differences between Early Modern controversies and controversies in online internet discussion forums. Further, this book offers an accurate analysis of the strategies used in online discussion forums, analyzing two controversial threads taken from two online discussion forums and provides insights into the individual tactics and strategies applied in online controversies and highlights the similarities and differences of applied principles, norms, and rules. The book finally comments on stylistic choices used by participants in the controversies.

Has the internet changed the nature of conducting controversies? This question cannot be answered easily as different forms of human interaction in an online environment exist and controversies in an online environment have not been analyzed from a linguistic point of view so far. On the other hand, there are many linguistic analyses of controversies in the Early Modern Period. First, this volume describes the communicative background of two online discussion forums dedicated to the study of historical arms and armor. Then, the volume analyzes the similarities and differences between Early Modern controversies and controversies in online internet discussion forums. Further, this book offers an accurate analysis of the strategies used in online discussion forums, analyzing two controversial threads taken from two online discussion forums and provides insights into the individual tactics and strategies applied in online controversies and highlights the similarities and differences of applied principles, norms, and rules. The book finally comments on stylistic choices used by participants in the controversies.

CONTENTS
Introduction
Research question
Objectives of the research
Contents of the volume

Socio-cultural context of the forums
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Social networks and communication in online discussion forums
2.3 The participants in online discussion forums (active participants, passive participants, distribution of rights, motivation of participants, and the goals of participants
2.4 The principles and rules of communication in online discussion forums dedicated to the study of arms and armor
2.5 The background of the keris controversy and the nationalism controversy
2.6 Summary

Conflicts and controversies in theory and practice
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Human conflict and polemical discourse
3.3 Different types of polemical discourse: discussion, dispute, and controversy
3.4 The ideal controversy: a model by Leibnitz
3.5 The characteristics of controversies in practice
3.6 The role of emotions in public controversies
3.7 Summary

The République des Lettres and Pamphlets
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The members of the République des Lettres and their attitudes
4.3 Pamphlets in the République des Lettres
4.4 Summary

Communication principles from Early Modern Controversies to Electronic

communication
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Controversies as language games ruled by principles
5.3 Classification of communication principles
5.4 The changing nature of communication principles over time
5.5 Summary

Individual moves and strategies: from the République des Lettres to online discussion forums
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Moves and strategies used in the scientific controversy between Kepler, Röslin, and Feselius in the 16th century
6.3 Moves and strategies used in the religious controversy between representatives of Protestant Orthodoxy and the Pietists and a comparison to online controversies
6.4 Moves with characteristic rhetoric of individuality in 17th century controversies compared to moves in online controversies
6.5 Moves and strategies used in a religious pamphlet war between Protestants and Jesuits in comparison to moves and strategies used in controversies in online discussion forums
6.6 Using accusations as special moves in Early Modern Controversies and their equivalents in controversies in online discussion forums
6.7 Summary

Individual moves and strategies in online discussion forums
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Global structure of controversies in online discussion forums
7.3 Opening moves
Accusations as an opening move
Justifying one’s entry into a controversy
7.4 Attacking moves
Supporting the criticism of thread initiator
Agreement with friend/friends to support own argument
Accusations of not having enough knowledge about a subject
Insulting
Accusation of making a naked assertion (nudae assertiones)
7.5 Defending moves
Defending the author of the article
Refutation with reference to the accepted experts and authority
7.6 Counterattacks
Retorting and correcting the statements of the opponent by providing examples
Using the partial point-by-point method to counterattack
Accusations of misrepresentation
Apologizing as an answer to the accusation
7.7 Deflecting moves
Claiming incomprehension and misunderstanding of the article by the opponent
Stressing that one is not interested in getting involved in a controversy
Giving interpretation of one’s own words
Using repetition
7.8 Accusation moves related to violations of principles of communication
Accusation of the violation of the principle of being warm and friendly
Accusation of the violation of the principle of who carries the burden of proof
Accusation of the violation of the principle of not making personal attacks
Accusation of the violation of the principle of not solely relying on arguments

from authority
7.9 Neutral moves
7.10 Using rhetorical and direct questions in controversies
Using rhetorical questions to support one’s own position or a supporter’s

position
Using rhetorical questions to attack the opponent
Using direct questions to seek information
Using direct questions to challenge the opponent’s statement
Using direct questions to divert attention
7.11 Summary
.
Stylistic choices in controversies
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Style markers in online controversies as written dialogue: audience interaction

and addressing other participants
The dimension of medium: the usage of vocatives and signature lines
The usage of the pronoun we to address group identity
Different functions of the pronoun I
Different functions of the pronoun you
Discourse markers
8.3 Lexical choices
The usage of jargon and technical terms
Person-related terms
Polemical terms and phrases towards theories, arguments, and ideas of the

other group
8.4 Emoticons
Emoticons used for their intended purpose or in a neutral way Emoticons used

sarcastically to attack the opponent
8.5 Summary
.
Conclusion
9.1 Summary
9.2 Future steps in terms of approach into online controversies

References
Index

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