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Evidentiality & Security Literacy

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Presentation given at the IDRC Davos 2010 by Prof. Dr. Una Dirks (University of Hildesheim, Germany)

Presentation given at the IDRC Davos 2010 by Prof. Dr. Una Dirks (University of Hildesheim, Germany)

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  • 1. Evidentiality & Security Literacy Prof. Dr. Una Dirks (University of Hildesheim, Germany)
  • 2. Former US-President George W. Bush In an interview on Fox News, 23.09.2003: „The best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what‘s happening in the world.“ © U. Dirks 2
  • 3. Contents 1 Security Literacy – what for? 2 The empirical impact on resilience: the Iraq war at issue 3 A Taxonomy for ‚decamouflaging‘ arguments from ignorance © U. Dirks 3
  • 4. 1 Security Literacy – what for? Security literacy enables you … to identify indicators for the quality of evidentiality in discourses. to make systematic differences between qualitative & ‚objective‘ evidence. to be aware of evidentiality in relation to varying situational conditions (cf. resilience). © U. Dirks 4
  • 5. 2 The Empirical Impact on Resilience: The Iraq War at issue Political & communication studies as well as linguistic media research focus on conflicts that have escalated, not on their prior development (exceptions: Dorman/Livingston 1994, Shaw/Martin 1993). Lack of knowledge about prevention of war: e.g. Why has the Iraq conflict escalated? © U. Dirks 5
  • 6. Traditionally: Focus on War & its Outcomes Situation at situation the beginning after action of action??? collective effects actors‘ framings? individual effects (cf. qualitative waging of the evidence) Iraq war logic of the logic of selecting logic of aggregation situation specific practices (effects) (context) © U. Dirks 6
  • 7. 2a) Resilience in relation to ‚Interpretive Explanations‘ (Max Weber 1922) Research project on the „De-/construction of the Iraq war in the media“ during the pre-war period; supported by the German Foundation for Peace Research (2004-2007, cf. Dirks 2010): Research questions: How did actors of the political sphere promote the war reasons? How did the media cover the war reasons? © U. Dirks 7
  • 8. Focus on the Pre-War Situation Situation situation before the after action Iraq war collective effects actors‘ framings individual effects (cf. qualitative waging of evidence) the Iraq war logic of the logic of selecting logic of aggregation situation specific practices (effects) (context) © U. Dirks 8
  • 9. Interpretive Explanations of the pre-war Situation Situation before Situations1,2,n: the Iraq war = Ext. & interior situation after conditions Critical Discourse events1,2,n & Moments (CDM‘s): its effects referring to salient, dramatized topics (cf. Chilton 1987) actors‘ framings: drawing on speci- individual effects fic situational cond. process of acting Interpretive Understanding: Interpretive Explanations: Re-/constructing actors‘ framings Understanding & explaining effects w. regard on behalf of their practices to relevant causal factors (situation, framings, practices, indiv. effects) © U. Dirks 9
  • 10. CDMs: Sphere of Politics Sphere of the Media Terror attacks (11.09.01) (I) Sep 01 Congress approves Use of Force Oct 01 (14.09.01) at the outset Situation Nov 01 War Enduring Freedom (07.10.01) Excluded from investigation Dec 01 (Karzai appointed President of  Jan 02 Afghanistan (22.12.01) Jan 02 Bush: „Axis of Evil“ (29.01.02) Diversification: heterogeneous framing & priming, multiple addressing Jun 02 (Bush: „Preemptive Strike“ West Point, 01.06.02) (does not hit the agenda) Jul 02 (II) Growing Density of Agenda Aug 02 Address Cheney Nashville: „There is no doubt Sep 02 that S.H. now has WMDs.“ (26.08.02) ‚Paths‘ of reporting get etablished: 1st anniversary terror attacks (11.09.02) Extension of diversification with Oct 02 Bush: address to UN (12.09.02) habitualized genre practices exploited Approval of Iraq war by Congress (10./11.10.02) for emotionally loaded soundbite- Nov 02 arrangements in the face of continuous Elections of Congress (05.11.02) uncertainty about the weapon situation Dec 02 UN Security Council: Resolution 1441 (08.11.02) Bush signs Dept. of HS (25.11.02) in Iraq (III) Agenda Jan 03 Restart of weapon inspections (27.11.02) Feb 03 Bush: State of the Union address(28.01.03) Powell: address to UN Security Council (05.02.03) profiling Clear-cut profiles of media (actors‘) Mar 03 Summit of Foreign Ministers F, Ru, G (05.03.03) preferential strategies Blix report on disarmament UN Security Council (5/7.3.03) News conference w. Bush (06.03.03) Bush: Ultimatum to Saddam Hussein (17.03.03) Abrupt change of genre practices (cf. ‚rally War Iraqi Freedom (20.03.03) around the flag‘- Effect, Russett et al. 2004) Key Dates, in: AEI (2005), America after 9/11, S. 253-254, amendments by Viehrig & Dirks. 10 © U. Dirks
  • 11. Research Data All kinds of documents about the war reasons (weapon reports, expertises) and communication infrastructure within the political sphere of the US- Administration Front Pages of the international quality press (part.: Washington Post, New York Times; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung) Interviews with the papers‘ journalists. © U. Dirks 11
  • 12. What is a Genre? A textualized, habitualized, potentially hybrid struc- ture- & agency complex (here: texts of the press) that offers its users situation-bound, meta-/linguistic orientations when searching for communicative solutions that suit specific social demands. Hence, genres comprise the communicative chances & obstacles „of constructing, maintaining & changing social order.“ (Luckmann 1986: 205; cf. Bakhtin 1986, Volosinov) © U. Dirks 12
  • 13. Genre-typical Functions of Front Page Articles Select the most important daily information (cf. agenda-setting) provide readers with new information „The front page is a newspaper’s billboard, its way of making a statement about what is important, and stories trumpeted there are often picked up by other news outlets.” (Kurtz 2004) © U. Dirks 13
  • 14. Preview: Excuses of the US-Media 26.05.2004, 12.08.2004: The NYT & WP (not the FAZ & SZ) submit their apologies to their readers for having reported on the basis of insufficiently proved information about the war reasons, particularly on their front pages. What had happened? © U. Dirks 14
  • 15. 2b) Selected Research Findings – the pre-war period The semiotic artefacts (verbal/visual texts) of the political and media spheres were dominated by politicians‘ framings dealing with the purported war reasons (WMD‘s, terrorist collaboration of Hussein with al Qaeda). © U. Dirks 15
  • 16. NYT/WP: LexisNexis-Research about the War Reasons (Viehrig 2010) Artikel NYT & Washington Post  120 Weapons of Mass Destruction [554] 101 80 Qaeda AND  (Iraq OR Hussein) [93]  79 80 74 (manuell überprüft) 67 64 56 55 40 Regime Change [505] 46 44 40 33 40 22 20 30 41 29 0 19 18 17 8 11 10 11 31 1 13 5 7 bis 20.3.03 Dez 02 Apr 02 Jun 02 Aug 02 Okt 02 Nov 02 Jan 03 Jan 02 Mrz 02 Feb 03 Feb 02 Sep 02 Mai 02 Jul 02 Archiv LexisNexis, quantity of articles w. searched terms in whole texts (Viehrig 2010). © U. Dirks 16
  • 17. SZ/FAZ: LexisNexis-Research about the War Reasons (Viehrig 2010) Archiv LexisNexis, quantity of articles w. searched terms in titles & leads (Viehrig 2010). © U. Dirks 17
  • 18. 2b) Selected Research Findings – the pre-war period The semiotic artefacts (verbal/visual texts) of the political and media spheres were dominated by politicians‘ framings, dealing with the purported war reasons (WMD‘s, terrorist collaboration of Hussein with al Qaeda). Politicians‘ framings contained ‚narrated‘, but unproved information. Actors of the media sphere hardly ever chal- lenged this kind of „qualitative evidence“ assigning to it a factive status: „Arguments ad ignorantiam“ (Walton 1989: 47). Journalists served as „animators“ of politicians‘ sound- bites (Goffman 1981: 226), not as advocates in search of ‚good reasons‘ (media as the ‚Fourth Estate‘?); the German press copied the US press: „Wir haben alle voneinander abgeschrieben“. © U. Dirks 18
  • 19. Example: Fallacious framings – fallacious reasoning Jacques Chirac in an interview with the NYT: Asking for evidence of the ‚WMD‘s! NYT, 09.09.02: Two front page articles about the interview with Chirac w.o. his request! Relegated to A9(!): Chirac asked for „‘indisputable proof‘ of the existence of WMD‘s“. © U. Dirks 19
  • 20. Jacques Chirac asking for evidence of the ‚WMD‘s‘ NYT, 09.09.02, A1: Potentially supportive quotations of members of the US- Administration (TIME AS NO RESOURCE, POWER IS UP/ POLITICS IS ACTION): „... Cheney warned grimly that ‚time is not on our side‘, ... Hussein‘s efforts to build an arsenal of immensely destructive weapons left the US little choice but to act against Iraq. ‚There shouldn‘t be any doubt in anybody‘s mind that this president is absolutely bound and determined to deal with this threat‘ ... He said that Iraq was sparing no effort to revive its nuclear weapon program ...“ Rice: „‘there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly‘ Mr. Hussein can acquire nuclear weapons.“ (cf. FAZ) Rumsfeld: „The world cannot wait to see what Iraq may do.“ © U. Dirks 20
  • 21. Selected Research Findings – the pre-war period (cont.) Actors of the political & media sphere did not create or resort to evidence-based genre routines. Rare primings of counter-perspectives (political opposition, weapon reports) on the agenda, the exploitation of counter-metaphors like WAR IS DOWN, DIPLOMACY-AS-A-JOURNEY, TIME- AS-A-RESOURCE does not succeed in contrast to TIME AS A MENACE, POWER IS UP, POLITICS AS ACTION (domestic framings). © U. Dirks 21
  • 22. Interdependencies between the Spheres of Politics & the Media Situational Effects Politicians‘ Conditions of Politicians‘ Practices of an Event Practices The communicative challenge: qualitative evidence – no ‚objective‘ evidence Situational Effects Conditions Journalists‘ Practices of Journalists‘ of Journalists‘ Practices Work © U. Dirks 22
  • 23. Reasons for missing evidence-based genre routines Staff writers have been in great danger of losing their jobs due to the ‚media crisis‘, don‘t risk inno- vations. Media actors (journalists) ‚sell‘ news to be bought by as many readers as possible (ca. 1/3 of papers‘ income) and found supportable by advertisers (ca. 2/3 of papers‘ income). Media actors try to make their papers as easily accessible as possible by the assumed readership in spite of the news‘ ‚foreignness‘: Reports of the US-media obey to the criterium ‚storifyable‘ (‚do- mestication‘) resulting into antithetic soundbite- arrangements. © U. Dirks 23
  • 24. Pincus (WP): Political Discourse about „facts“ instead of „quotes“ The eldest political journalist of the Washington Post, Walter Pincus: „The main thing people forget to do is reading documents.“ „First of all, it‘s [a good report] got to be factual, to me it‘s a basis of everything. And the problem with reporting these days is that people tend to write much too long pieces and they tend to put too many quotes from people.“ (Interview 4/126ff.) © U. Dirks 24
  • 25. POLITICAL DISCOURSE AS STORY TELLING Editor of the Washington Post, Leonard DownieJr: „... difficulties in editing Pincus may have been a factor in the pre-war period, because he is ›so well sourced‹ that his reporting often amounts to putting together ›fragments‹ until the pieces were […] ›storifyable‹.” (Kurtz 2004) Maxim of public discourse: provide information from the political sphere with „a narrative view on life“ (Hymes 1996). © U. Dirks 25
  • 26. Building Blocks of Stories Referring to events that happened in the past at specific places binary Membership Category Devices: ‘good guys’ vs. ‘bad guys’ category-bound activities seemingly close to everyday experience (‘domestic framings’): practices of ingroup’s & outgroup’s members are praised or blamed for unfavorable conditions (cf. blame stories), e.g. connected with appella- tive speech acts in the shape of ‘urging’, threatening, etc. © U. Dirks 26
  • 27. Chances for creating new Stories? Depending on amount of time, cognitive & material resources for investigative approaches creative practices of connecting narrative structures with new contents, e.g. telling a story about how experts of different interest groups tried to find evidence for their arguments providing the audience with proper information about the quality of experts’ findings resulting into a discourse about good evidence in contrast to relying on politicians’ framings, only. © U. Dirks 27
  • 28. 3 Tools for ‚decamouflaging‘ „arguments from ignorance“ No help from linguistic sub-/disciplines? „Unfortunately, in spite of the professed attention to argument as a form of ordinary, contextually embedded language use or situated discourse, in informal logic, as yet, no systematic study has been undertaken of what these indicators are and how exactly they should be used in reconstructing unexpressed premises“. (van Rees 2001: 182) © U. Dirks 28
  • 29. A Taxonomy of Security Literacy (cogn. Sociolinguistics) Strategies of de-/ Indicators & Practices of Security Literacy encoding Meaning Description of the Taking account of the situation‘s inner conditions: situation & its history indiv. frames & scripts, identity & of its outer conditions: cultural frames, material resources, institutional rules. Description of Which practices (orally, written) can be observed or practices reconstructed? Interpretive Re-/construction of actors‘ framings: how did they define understanding I the situation (cf. ‚covert action‘)? Why? e.g. COHESION of X/Y IS UP Interpretive Re-/construction of actors‘ scripts: which practice(s) have understanding II they chosen to enact (cf. ‚covert action‘, Schütz 1971)? © U. Dirks 29
  • 30. Strategy of ‚Interpretive Understanding‘ Situation Situation before the after action Iraq war Searching for collective effects evidence of claims, e.g. slides 19, 20 actors‘ framings individual effects (cf. ‚qualitative actors‘ evidence‘) practices logic of the logic of selecting logic of aggregation situation specific practices (effects) (context) © U. Dirks 30
  • 31. A Taxonomy of Security Literacy (cogn. Sociolinguistics) Strategies of de-/ Indicators & Practices of Security Literacy encoding Meaning Description of the Taking account of the situation‘s inner conditions: situation & its history indiv. frames & scripts, identity & of its outer conditions: cultural frames, material resources, institutional rules. Interpretive Re-/construction of actors‘ framings: how did they define understanding I the situation (cf. ‚covert action‘)? Why? e.g. COHESION of X/Y IS UP Interpretive Re-/construction of actors‘ scripts: which practice(s) have understanding II they chosen to enact (cf. ‚covert action‘, Schütz 1971)? Description of Which practices (orally, written) can be observed or practices reconstructed? Description of effects Which effects (changes of the prior situation) can be observed? Interpretive Create causal-functional connections betw. the effects & Explanations relevant context factors trying to explain the collective effects, i.e. the explanandum. © U. Dirks 31
  • 32. Strategy of ‚Interpretive Explanations‘ Situation Situation before the after action Iraq war Searching for collective effects effect-related (explanandum) context factors actors‘ framings individual effects actors‘ practices logic of the logic of selecting logic of aggregation situation specific practices (effects) (context) © U. Dirks 32
  • 33. Thank you for your attention! In case of questions or remarks, please, don’t hesitate to get into touch with me: dirks@uni-hildesheim.de © U. Dirks 33
  • 34. Selected Literature Bakhtin, Michail M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays. Ed. by Caryl Emerson & Michael Holquist, translated by Vern W. McGee. Austin. Chilton, Paul & Christina Schäffner (1997). Discourse and Politics. In: Teun A. van Dijk (ed.): Discourse as Social Interaction. Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction. Volume 2. Ld., 206-230. Cummings, Louise (2005). Pragmatics. A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Edinburgh. Dirks, Una (2006a). How Critical Discourse Analysis faces the Challenge of Interpretive Explanations from a Micro- and Macro-theoretical Perspective. Review Essay: Gilbert Weiss & Ruth Wodak (eds.) (2003): Critical Discourse Analysis. New York, N.Y. In: Forum: Qualitative Social Research. [On-line Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, URL: http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs-texte/2-06/06-2-26-e.htm]. Dirks, Una (2010). Der Irak-Konflikt in den Medien. Eine sprach-, politik- und kommunikationswissenschaftliche Analyse. Konstanz. Esser, Hartmut (2001). Soziologie. Spezielle Grundlagen. Bd. 6: Sinn und Kultur. Frankfurt/M. From the Editors (2004). THE TIMES and Iraq. In: The New York Times, 26.05.2004, A10. Glucksberg, Sam (2001). Understanding Figurative Language: From Metaphors to Idioms. Oxford. Goffman, Erving (1974). Frame Analysis. An Essay on the Organization of Experience. New York. Goffman, Erving (1981). Forms of talk. Oxford. Hymes, Dell (1996). Ethnography, Linguistics, Narrative Inequality: Toward an Understanding of Voice. Ld Kurtz, Howard (2004). The Post on WMDs: An Inside Story. In: The Washington Post. 12.08.2004, A1. Lakoff, George (2003). Metaphor and War again. 18.03.2003 [URL: http://www.alternet.org/story.html]. Luckmann, Thomas (1986). Grundformen der gesellschaftlichen Vermittlung des Wissens: Kommunikative Gattungen. In: Friedhelm Neidhart et al. (ed.). Kultur und Gesellschaft. Sonderheft 27 der Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 191-211. van Rees, Agnès (2001). Argument Interpretation and Reconstruction. In Frans H. van Eemeren (ed.). Crucial Concepts in Argumentation Theory. Amsterdam, 165-199. Viehrig, Henrike (2010). Die Salienz der Kriegsgründe. In Dirks, 87-108. Walton, Douglas (1989). Informal Logic: A Handbook for Critical Argumentation. Cambridge. Weber, Max (1988 [1922])7. Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre. Tübingen. © U. Dirks 34