Political debates usually focus on mobilising the other side to commit to a preferred course of action, thereby not only ignoring an apparent opposition in ideological viewpoints, but also the fact that sharing a common official language and common institutions does not necessarily entail a consensus on the issue at hand.
As a sui generis collectivity in the Pacific, New Caledonia is currently involved in a decisive debate on self-determination with one of the most powerful former colonising nations in Europe. The negotiation process between New Caledonia and France pertaining to the full or partial independence of the island agglomeration remains ongoing. A referendum will be organised to decide upon a final outcome in the second half…show more content… 106). The present study aims to partially redress this imbalance. Instead of privileging literary texts or explicitly political discourse, uttered at the higher levels of society, grassroots level discourse will be given all the attention it deserves as the result of political interaction and the emphasis will be on language as it is used by all of the interactants in the context of the New Caledonian independence debate.
The project aims to explore the relations between discourse, power and social interaction. Consequently, the audience of the political speeches, radio interviews or public letters, the recipients, equally deserve consideration, especially as a group that not only reacts to the discourse, but, at the same time, critically evaluates the argumentation and then responds to it. All of the groups involved make attempts at convincing the other groups of the validity of their propositions. Other analytical approaches to discourse that focus on the social aspects of dialoguing equally understand discourse to be a form of social interaction (van Dijk, 1985; Boden & Zimmennan, 1991). Since it is mainly through the exchange of discursive acts that a final consensus is reached, the focus of the study is on the social practice of deliberation or argumentation, rather than the social actors themselves.