Den argumenterande Olof Palme : en argumentationsanalys av strukturer och strukturbrott i Olof Palmes inlägg i valdebatten mot Thorbjörn Fälldin i Scandinavium, Göteborg, 1976

Sammanfattning: The topic of the present dissertation is argumentation in the late statesman Olof Palme (1927-1986). One may reasonably think that the fascination for Palme is mainly due to his way of expressing his policy, and therefore also to his argumentation strategy. The theoretical background consists of Lloyd F. Bitzers’s theory on the rhetorical situation, Stephen E. Toulmin’s theory on the description of argumentation structures and on the notion of fallacy, as it appears in pragma-dialectics and informal logic. The rhetorical situation is used to identify vital presuppositions and conditions surrounding the analysed argumentation.Toulmin’s theoretical model is used to analyse structures in the argumentation, and the notion of fallacy is used to discover infringements upon these structures. The object of this analysis is the decisive electoral debates of autumn 1976 between Olof Palme and Thorbjörn Fälldin, held in Scandinavium, Gothenburg, Sweden. Palme had to think of a number of surrounding conditions, such as that the debate was decisive, the composition of the audience. Palme and Fälldin otherwise appeared to be rather equally equipped for the debate. Palme’s task was primarily to gain the number of votes needed to continue to keep social democracy in power. There seem to exist several levels making up his argumentation, grouped under attack and defence. Defence is in most cases based upon a strong connection with the social democrat tradition. The attack is more complicated, linked to Palme’s overall argumentative intention: to depict the non-socialists as a bad governing alternative, and the social democrats as a better one. Fallacies are regarded as instances of breaking the frame of rules that govern a critical discussion. Palme has several fallacy-like features in his argumentation. Among those, most common, are that he attacks the person Thorbjörn Fälldin, instead of the policy or party that he represents. Palme also starts from presupposed premises and tries to link the economic policy of the alliance to an intellectually-thought delimiting between liberal and conservative capitalism and social-democrat solidarity. He strives to portray the liberals and conservatives as money-orientated, whereas social democracy is depicted as people-orientated.Palme goes arguably too far at several moments during the debate,which possibly hurts his own argumentation.