We propose a framework to analyse partisan debates that involves extracting, classifying and exploring the latent argumentation structure and dynamics of online societal controversies. In this paper, the focus is placed on causal arguments, and the proposed framework is applied to the Twitter debate on the consequences of a hard Brexit scenario. Regular expressions based on causative verbs, structural topic modelling, and dynamic time warping techniques were used to identify partisan faction arguments, as well as their relations, and to infer agenda-setting dynamics. The results highlight that the arguments employed by partisan factions are mostly constructed around constellations of effect-classes based on polarised verb groups. These constellations show that the no-deal debate hinges on structurally balanced building blocks. Brexiteers focus more on arguments related to greenfield trading opportunities and increased autonomy, whereas Remainers argue more about what a no-deal Brexit could destroy, focusing on hard border issues, social tensions in Ireland and Scotland and other economy- and healthcare-related problems. More notably, inferred debate leadership dynamics show that, despite their different usage of terms and arguments, the two factions’ argumentation dynamics are strongly intertwined. Moreover, the identified periods in which agenda-setting roles change are linked to major events, such as extensions, elections and the Yellowhammer plan leak, and to new issues that emerged in relation to these events.

The architecture of partisan debates: The online controversy on the no-deal Brexit

Santagiustina, Carlo Romano Marcello Alessandro
;
Warglien, Massimo
2022

Abstract

We propose a framework to analyse partisan debates that involves extracting, classifying and exploring the latent argumentation structure and dynamics of online societal controversies. In this paper, the focus is placed on causal arguments, and the proposed framework is applied to the Twitter debate on the consequences of a hard Brexit scenario. Regular expressions based on causative verbs, structural topic modelling, and dynamic time warping techniques were used to identify partisan faction arguments, as well as their relations, and to infer agenda-setting dynamics. The results highlight that the arguments employed by partisan factions are mostly constructed around constellations of effect-classes based on polarised verb groups. These constellations show that the no-deal debate hinges on structurally balanced building blocks. Brexiteers focus more on arguments related to greenfield trading opportunities and increased autonomy, whereas Remainers argue more about what a no-deal Brexit could destroy, focusing on hard border issues, social tensions in Ireland and Scotland and other economy- and healthcare-related problems. More notably, inferred debate leadership dynamics show that, despite their different usage of terms and arguments, the two factions’ argumentation dynamics are strongly intertwined. Moreover, the identified periods in which agenda-setting roles change are linked to major events, such as extensions, elections and the Yellowhammer plan leak, and to new issues that emerged in relation to these events.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/5002011
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