A semio-functional approach of relationship attacks-defenses for Presidential debates in Romania, from November 2014

Nicolae-Sorin DRĂGAN


This paper examines the relationship between two important discursive functions of televised debates (attacks and defenses) for presidential elections in Romania, in November 2014, from the perspective of functional theory of political campaign discourse. Tensions of discursive exchanges attack-defense type invite the public, beyond the cognitive processes which they initiate, to participate affective in the construction of the decision on preferences for one of the candidates. Functional theory makes some predictions about the discourse functions of political campaign. All five predictions of functional theory were tested in the two televised debates for presidential elections in Romania: 11 and 12 November in Realitatea TV station, B1 TV respectively. The study shows the similarities with the results obtained in other states, but also reveals the significant differences that change the structure of the functional theory predictions. We tried to explain the relatively high percentage of televised debates defenses in Romania as comparedwith the results in the other countries. The differences can be explained if we take into account the qualitative content of the two discursive functions and the role of communication culture in the metabolism of the televised debate.

Keywords: presidential debate; functional theory; political communica-tion culture; political semiotics