Argumentation as reasonable alternative to conflict
The main goal of this project - which is part of the ProDoc graduate school on Argumentative Practices in Contexts (Argupolis, www.argupolis.net) - is to consider the role and effectiveness of argumentative strategies for conflict prevention and resolution. More precisely, we focus on the conditions under which a disagreement or incompatibility of positions between individuals or groups - possibly related also to differences in the parties´ desires, goals, strategies - can be managed through argumentative means instead of leading to overt interpersonal hostility, where each party is committed to hinder the adversary´s realization of his/her own goal. Besides their scientific relevance for argumentation studies and studies in social conflict, project´s results promise a useful contribution also in the field of conflict prevention and resolution strategies. The project focuses on two interaction contexts - family and corporation - which, by design, differ markedly with respect to the dimension of institutionalization, with family being largely defined in interpersonal terms and corporation in institutional terms (by contracts), so that it is expected that both conflict development and argumentative discussions will be chiefly intertwined with interpersonal and institutional constraints respectively. The analysis of each context, the collection of the data and the analysis of the communicative interaction is developed in parallel for each context by the two PhD working on the project (Antonio Bova and Camilla Palmieri), based on a common theoretical framework, and will constitute the subject of their dissertations; at the same time, the adoption of common parameters for the characterization of argumentative strategies will allow intensive comparative work, both enriching the value of individual dissertations and leading to further scientific outputs from the whole project group. The project team has been established by focusing on interdisciplinary complementarities between the research of the three partners: the Institute of Linguistics of Semiotics of the University of Lugano (Eddo Rigotti, Sara Greco Morasso) focused in the last decade on the study of argumentation and on the dynamics of conflict; the Swiss Finance Institute (Eric Nowak) Eric Nowak is providing specific knowledge about the context of corporate finance; Clotilde Pontecorvo (University of Roma3) and Francesco Arcidiacono (University of Neuchâtel) are collaborating in relation to the context of family conversation.