Managing disagreement through yes, but… constructions: An argumentative analysis

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The goal of this study is to examine the argumentative functions of concessive yes, but… constructions. Based on (N = 22) interview transcripts, we examine the ways environmental activists negotiate their agreements and disagreements over climate change through yes, but… constructions. Starting from conversational analyses of such concessive sequences, we develop an account grounded in argumentative discourse analysis, notably pragma-dialectics. The analysis focuses on how in conceding arguments speakers re-present others’ discourse, what types of criticism they exercise through particular sequential patterns and which argumentative techniques they saliently use. We show in particular that, in disputing the standpoints supported by the complex argumentation they encounter, speakers raise different types of criticism (sufficiency, relevance, acceptability). We discuss how examining not only the sequencing of agreements and disagreements, but also the argumentative relations that generate these, may extend our understanding of such concessive constructions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-484
Number of pages18
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2015


  • Agreement prefaces
  • argumentation analysis
  • climate change
  • concession
  • disagreement
  • dissociation
  • pragma-dialectics
  • relevance
  • sufficiency


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