”Jonas, min vän” : Persuasiva motstrategier för att dekonstruera en stark ethosposition, exemplet Selimovic mot Khemiri i debatten om REVA
In the year of 2012, a police project called “REVA” was established in Sweden. The goal was to increase efficiency in deporting undocumented migrants from Sweden. Two articles relating to the project were published in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. One was an open letter to Attorney General Beatrice Ask, written by the famous author Jonas Hassen Khemiri. The other one was a response to Khemiri’s letter, written by Secretary of state and drama director Jasenko Selimovic.
The objective of this essay is to perform a rhetorical analysis of these two articles in order to examine how they are constructed to achieve their persuasive goals. Mainly, I am interested in exploring if Selimovic’s persuasive strategies can be regarded as direct counter-strategies to those of Khemiri. I am also interested in exploring to what extent Selimovic’s strategies deal with the specific problems he faces: countering an effective text with a demonstrable rhetorical power, authored by a writer with a contextually strong ethos - and doing so without harming his own ethos.
Through using a theory of argumentation as well as a specially designed theoretical model for persuasive strategies “in both directions”, the analysis shows that Selimovic’s main approach was to directly confront the persuasive strategies used by Khemiri in order to make the latter appear too closely focused on subjective emotional experiences and blind to a wider perspective. Theoretically, this approach could be expected to work well in deconstructing an uneven ethos position, but due to Selimovic’s overly confrontational argumentation style, it rather had the opposite effect, making Selimovic appear too skeptical, critical and unwilling to stay on topic.
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