The Rhetoric of Alterity in the Contemporary French Political Discourse

  • Eleonora MIHAILA Free International University of Moldova, Chisinau, the Republic of Moldova
Keywords: Political discourse, argumentation, alterity, opponent, difference


The political argumentation, born in reaction to the difference of opinions (ex superficie) and interests (ex profundis) in the fields of politics, is of dialogical nature by its essence. The alterity is a discoursive product, as it is constructed and deconstructed by means of the language. Which are the ways of discoursive representation of The Other – the political opponent, along with its system of ideas, values, objectives, strategies – throughout the act of argumentation in the political discourse? Given the dialogical nature of the argumentation, the alterity finds its expression depending on the pragmatic roles it assumes in the process of argumentation, such as: subject, object, recipient. In order to understand the ways of discoursive expression of the alterity, we hereby propose an inter-disciplinary research – positioned at the crossroads of the theory of argumentation and semiotics with elements of anthropological study. The empirical part consists in the application of a bi-model treatment pattern so as to identify and analyse the discoursive forms of alterity in two speeches delivered by Emmanuel Macron and Marine le Pen during the French presidential election campaign 2017. Understanding the discoursive essence of the alterity and of the ways of expression of such conceptual disjunction stands as a guarantor for the understanding of the roots of the political dissent and the canalization of such dissent towards a constructive path in a climate of clarity, transparency, tolerance and willingness to identify solutions.


Plantin C. Dictionnaire de l’argumentation. Une introduction aux études d’argumentation. Lyon: ÉNS. 2016. p. 634
[2] Landowski E. Présences de l’autre. Essais de socio-sémiotique II. Paris: Presses Universitaires Françaises. 1997. p. 250
[3] Floria F. Retorica alterităţii [The Rhetoric of Alterity]. Iaşi: Editura Universităţii „Alexandru Ioan Cuza”. 2014. p. 270
[4] Boicu R. Pragmatic identity and alterity in political discourse. MPRA Repository [Internet]. Date of publication. 2013, 6 April [cited 2017 June 29]; MPRA Paper No. 45838: 9 pages. Available from:
[5] Charaudeau P. Le discours politique. Les masques du pouvoir. Limoges: Lambert-Lucas. 2014. p. 260
[6] Macron E. Speech in Nantes on April 19th 2017. Available from:
[7] Le Pen M. Speech in Marseille on April 19th 2017. Available from:
[8] Alduy C, & Wahnich S. Marine Le Pen prise au mot. Décryptage du nouveau discours frontiste. Paris: Seuil. 2015. p. 320
How to Cite
MIHAILA, E. (2018). The Rhetoric of Alterity in the Contemporary French Political Discourse. LUMEN Proceedings, 3, 294-302.