1. Introduction. Defining Argumentation. Argumentation from Ancient Rhetoric to Communication Sciences. Defining Strategic Communication. Argumentation as a resource for the strategic communication of organizations.
2. Argumentation theory I: The dialectical dimension of argumentation: solving differences of opinions on the merits. The rhetorical dimension of argumentation: persuasion in context. The canonical model of the persuasive speech.
3. Argumentation in context. Argumentation, types of dialogue and types of activity. The notions of interaction field and interaction scheme. Institutions, organizations and the public sphere. Discourse in the public sphere. Formal deliberation dialogues. Problem solving dialogues. Strategic vs. operational dialogues. The strategic significance of operational dialogues: values and norms. The planning perspective and the notion of “message strategy”. The Aristotelian krités and the rhetorical triangle. The “rhetorical situation” and the notion of message stakeholders.
4. Two paradigm cases of trust-related strategic argumentation. The nature of trust related standpoints. Entrepreneurs arguing the legitimacy and distinctiveness of their ventures with investors and other stakeholders. Companies arguing for trust-recovery after breaches of trust. An exercise of composition and delivery of a trust-recovery speech.
5. Argumentation theory II: The inferential dimension of argumentation: invitations to inference and commonsense logic.
6. The role of the media. Argumentation as a resource for the Habermasian “public sphere”, and hence for the public service dimension of media organizations. Argumentation as a component of media products. Towards the dis-intermediation of public argument? Understanding large scale public debates in the age of social media. Global public sphere or personalization bubble?
8. Argumentation in the newsroom. A seminar based on authentic newsroom meeting videorecording data, in collab. with Dr. Marta Zampa. Argumentation in newsroom meeting decision making. Newsroom reasoning and editorial gatekeeping in action.
The evaluation is based on the analysis of a case study, on a composition exercise simulating trust-recovery argumentation and on a final written exam.