Combining Appraisal resources: human rights organizations in the Argentine press

Mariana Pascual, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Argentina


Mariana Pascual, 2014: "La asociación de recursos de valoración: el caso de las organizaciones de derechos humanos en la prensa escrita argentina", Onomázein Número Especial IX ALSFAL, 99-114.
DOI: 10.7764/onomazein.alsfal.8

The last decades have witnessed a growing interest in language studies from critical perspectives, aiming at revealing ideological positioning which often oppose the interest of groups with limited social power. With the aim of unveiling positioning, Appraisal Theory (Martin, 2000; Martin & White, 2005) within Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) proposes analytical tools, which have proved to be particularly useful for the study of media discourse. This study illustrates the strategic use and combination of evaluative resources by analyzing the news stories published by five influential Argentinean newspapers regarding the organization Madres de Plaza de Mayo, which is a group formed by the mothers of over 30,000 victims of the military dictatorship that ruled the country between 1976 and 1983. The texts were published in relation to one specifically significant event that took place in 1985, in which a violent riot emerged in a military parade. The analysis sheds light on the combination of evaluative resources for the construction of negative values in relation to the judgment of violence and the disturbance of normality. However, the main difference lies not on the value constructed but on the intensity of the evaluation, which may be related to the lack of a politically correct option at a given sociohistorical point in time such as the one under analysis. The results may contribute to an understanding of the functioning of linguistic resources through which ideological alignment is constructed and consolidated in our modern mediatized society.