From Debate to Dialogue : A Case of a Czech TV Discussion Programme where Dialogue Fails



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This study analyses one episode representative of one of such TV formats: a Czech discussion TV programme called Máte slovo (which could be loosely translated as You Have the Floor). In Czech TV broadcasting, this format is quite unique in offering a chance of discussion and dialogue not only to public figures and representatives of institutions, but also to “ordinary” citizens. In the studio, these citizens, who can voluntarily apply, meet representatives of institutions, politicians and other public figures and, based on what the programme’s official description claims, are invited to speak on topics that directly concern them and to present their opinions. The citizens, together with the public figures present in the studio, form usually two opinion groups, between which a dialogue or a debate should take place. The debate is moderated by a host who “gives floor” to the speakers and regulates the discussion. What is remarkable about this programme is the fact that the attempts to lead a dialogue usually fail and the discussion turns into an aggressive combat, with the participants communicating in a way that hinders any mutual understanding. The aim of the study is to analyse the practices used by the participants of the debate as well as of the host through the lens of conversational analysis and discourse analysis and to attempt to find out which practices contribute to the failure of leading an effective dialogue. With regard to the fact that the studied discourse is multimodal, attention is paid not only to verbal elements and para-linguistic features, such as intonation, loudness etc., but also to the non-verbal behaviour of the participants and the visual layout of the studio. The analysis of the practises of the participants as well of the broadcasting institution can point to their intentions in terms of leading a dialogue and implications can be drawn regarding the establishment (or obstacles in the establishment) of a successful communication.
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