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Auteur: Victor KHACHAN

Editorials in Pre and Post Egyptian Spring Revolution: Argumentation Structural Perspectives

Abstract/Résumé: As for ‘undemocratic’ regimes, participatory democracy gives weight to news editorials in restructuring public opinion and transforming society. Newspaper editorials can shape, define, and redefine public opinion and, accordingly, may mirror the intensity and dynamics of (un)democratic deliberation. The editorial genre, mainly in English, has undergone extensive research trends. Nonetheless, the democratic influence of editorials in Arabic, especially in countries where democracy is dwarfed by the undemocratic whims of leaders and their authoritarian political machines, is nonexistent. Amidst the infinite questions the Arab Spring revolutions have raised, an analysis of pre, during, and post revolution editorials in a major Egyptian, quasi-governmental, newspaper- AL-Ahram- may provide some insight. The present work explores and traces the impact of the Spring revolution in Egypt through argumentation structural dynamics in Arabic editorials. To investigate possible argumentative shifts democracy may have imposed on editorial argumentative and rhetorical structures, this paper develops a contrastive argumentative approach to the analysis of pre, during, and post Mubarak editorials by two editors (editor-in-chief Usama Saraya and the chairman of the board Dr. Abdel Moneim Said) of Al-Ahram, Egypt’s largest-circulation, quasi-governmental, state-run newspaper. The corpus under investigation consists of 68 editorials dating back to the period between January 1 and March 30, 2011. January 25 and March 30 mark the first day of demonstrations against the Mubarak regime and the termination of both editors’ appointment at Al-Ahram, respectively. Along these dynamically demanding politico-rhetorical contexts, the editorials are analyzed in terms of Rehg’s (2009) normative perspectives of argumentation: logical product, dialectical procedure and rhetorical process. All in all, the present work assesses whether the argumentation process in editorials can be used to fortify deliberation in transitional democracies and, equally, be used to protect regimes with totalitarian motives and ambitions. References Rehg, W. (2009). The argumentation theorists in deliberative democracy. In W. Cartis, Y. Marilyn and D. Williams (eds.), Discourse, Debate and Democracy: Readings from Contoversia- An International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal, pp.9-30.