CRITICS: CRITICS Research Maria Laura Pardo

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Fri Jun 16 13:22:59 UTC 1995

Maria Laura Pardo
Postdoctoral Fellow
Center of Studies and Labor Research (CEIL)
Center for Research on Philosophical and Cultural Anthropology
National Council of Scientific and Technical Research,

EARLY WORK.  In 1984 I began to work on Political Discourse
Analysis within the Research and Development Project under the
supervision of Dr Beatriz R. Lavandera (Information Exchange
between government and citizens), with special reference to
Argentina's return to democracy after decades of de facto
governments. I specifically worked on the notion of
Hierarchization of Information and on symmetry,
complementariness, and symmetrical escalade relations in the
speeches of the President then, the church, the Armed Forces,
as well as those of the previous Military Junta (1983) and the
Minister of Interior about the desaparecidos in Argentina.
These investigations were kept on record in such articles as:
1986. Toward a redefinition of the notions of Theme and Rheme:
>>From sentence to Discourse; 1988. Psychoanalytical notions for
Discourse Analysis: The verbal manipulation of power,
Politeness as factor of power; Lavandera B.R. et al  1986.
Intertextual relationships: Missing People in Argentina.
Georgetown University Round Table. Lavandera, Beatriz and M.
Laura Pardo. 1987. Negation in Discourse: Patterns and
Ruptures. Sociolinguistic Analysis  of Political Discourse;
Lavandera, B.R. et al. 1986 and 1987. First and Second Annual
Report of the PID: Sociolinguistic Analysis  of Political

CURRENT WORK. Since 1987 I have worked together with attorneys
and sociologists on occupational sentences related to disease
and work accidents, and more recently on divorce and family.
This area within Legal Discourse has allowed me to become
familar with the work of attorneys and judges and with the
power of the word as an instrument for judging, hence the title
of my book of 1992, Law and Linguistics - How We Judge Through
Words. The fictio iuris as resource to manipulate certain
realities (such as the disappearance of people) led me to do
further research on performative speech acts  (1995. Legal
Fiction and Speech Acts: Bentham, Austin and Habermas. Journal
of LLengua and Dret. No. 22) by means of a new notion of verb
as Link of Value (a notion defined and explained in my doctoral
In my book Fiction, Linguistic Analysis of the Text (now in
press), I analyze not only the fictio iuris but also other
types of fiction within the mass media, particularly television
and newspapers. This research, together with my previous work,
has made me wonder how we can produce work on critical
discourse analysis in Argentina. Even though we have many
elements in common with European and American people (racism,
elite discourses, etc.) our Latin American reality differs in
the importance that we grant to these problems in relation to
others more inherent to our reality as, for example, the
problem of 'forgetfulness' and 'memory' of the so-called Dirty
War, self-censorship as a brutal consequence of dictatorship
on our culture,  the mass media for the sustenance of democracy
and at the same time as accomplices of the authoritative
system, a situation which can be studied by means of more
international theoretical frameworks but which requires a clear
and precise contextualization.
These specific problems in Argentina, as well as others shared
with Latin America, establish a wide difference between
critical discourse analysis on the First World on the one hand,
and on the Third (or Fourth) World on the other, without
disregarding those problems that, as human beings, we have in
common. These differences and similarities should be rigorously
observed when carrying out critical discourse analysis (an
issue that is related to the one outlined by Prof. Teun van
Dijk in his Recent Research (Topics for Critics - List
Discussion) in order to obtain idiosyncratic results from the
behavior of each people or country.

Any of these articles can be obtained by request but they are
in Spanish, except the one by the GURT (a different kind of

Maria Laura Pardo
Federico Lacroze 2100
1426 Buenos Aires
Phone-Fax: 54-1-776-0913
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