Book chapter

“You want me to be wrong” : Expert ethos, (de-)legitimation, and ethotic straw men as discursive resources for conspiracy theories


  • 01.12.2022
Published in:
  • Conspiracy Theory Discourses. - John Benjamins Publishing Company. - 2022, vol. 98, Chapter 5, p. 99-120
English This chapter discusses features of conspiratorial discourse related to the
representation of social actors through the lens of rhetorical and argumentative
analysis. Specifically, it identifies a previously undocumented variant of the straw
man fallacy (a misrepresentation of an opponent’s position meant to refute it more
easily), namely the ethotic straw man, which unscrupulous arguers can use to
legitimate their own credibility and undermine their opponents’, thereby evading
scientific discussion of relevant issues. A TV-interview with French virologist
Didier Raoult, who championed hydroxychloroquine-based treatments in the early
months of the COVID-19 pandemic, is taken as a case in point to explain why such
quasi-populistic discourse, prominently centred on questions of ethos, fits
conspiratorial narratives so well
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département d'anglais
  • English
Language, linguistics
License undefined
Open access status
Persistent URL

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