Perelman's audience revisted: Towards the construction of a new type of audience

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This article asks whether Perelman's concepts of the audience can help us achieve a better understanding of the Internet Audience in the specific context of the recent French and American presidential elections. It concludes that Perelman's notion of "argumentation before a single hearer" is most useful for that purpose. Applying it to Internet audience allows us to discern some of the communicative devices, such as appeal to participation and appeal to proximity, used by candidates in order to achieve a higher degree of involvement on the part of the surfers and potential voters, which in turn is translated to action by the surfers/voters on behalf of the candidate. The application of Perelman's concept shows that on the Web the interaction between the candidate and the surfer shifts from an argumentative situation per se to a context in which what appears to be a dialogue or conversation invites connivance between rhetor and audience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Audience
  • Candidates
  • Conversation
  • Dialogue
  • Elections
  • Involvement
  • Participation
  • Web 2.0


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