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Follow-ups as multifunctional questioning and answering strategies in Prime Minister’s Questions

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Abstract

In parliamentary interaction, more than in other types of institutional dialogue, follow-ups indicate how UK Members of Parliament (MPs) negotiate not only the pros and cons of topic-related issues, but also their status, roles and power positions. While a follow-up is normally conditioned by preceding turns in a dialogue, and, in its turn, it helps to shape the scope, focus and/or content of subsequent uptakes and follow-ups, interactively co-constructed follow-ups during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) display recurrent argumentative or counter-argumentative strategies since they not only highlight controversial aspects of the debated issues, but they also serve (explicitly or implicitly) to successively and repeatedly call into question the position of a political adversary, thereby undermining the latter’s authority and credibility. The aim of the present investigation is to identify and examine the discursive and argumentative functions of follow-ups occurring in PMQs of the House of Commons. The main research questions to be pursued are the following: What recurrent follow-up patterns can be found in PMQs? How are follow-ups initiated and responded to in the ongoing parliamentary interaction? What impact do follow-ups have on subsequent uptakes, and on the power balance between questioning MP and responding Prime Minister?

References

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