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Reference to Self and Other in the Digital Public Sphere: The Case of Political Blogs


In this paper, we analyze how a political blog author (Spanish Alejo Vidal-Quadras) establishes the reference to self and other in his blog entries. We furthermore look into how the commentators to this blog react and establish reference to self and other in the digital public sphere. More concretely, we show that they not only take up the references established by the main blog author but also create new references. These allow, on the one hand, for profiling themselves as part of a group and, on the other hand, identifying their interlocutor among the variety of possible interlocutors in the digital public sphere. By addressing different interlocutors, the commentators turn the comments section into a dialogic space, a dimension that is lacking in the main blog entries. However, the fact that they almost invariably identify interlocutors other than Vidal-Quadras but address Vidal-Quadras without explicitly identifying him, shows that Vidal-Quadras remains the main ratified interlocutor in view of his ownership of the blog. This paper shows then how participants in the digital public sphere create a complex relationship of self and other reference in political blogs.

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  1. We are grateful to Javiera Muñoz Guerrero and Christian Pardo Gamboa for coding the examples.


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This study has been carried out with support of the Fondecyt Project No. 1140912, funded by the by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) of the Government of Chile (for Cristian González Arias). This study has also benefited from a research stay at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, funded by the Université catholique de Louvain (for Barbara De Cock).

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Correspondence to Barbara De Cock.

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De Cock, B., González Arias, C. Reference to Self and Other in the Digital Public Sphere: The Case of Political Blogs. J Psycholinguist Res 47, 343–354 (2018).

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  • Reference
  • Political discourse
  • Blog
  • Digital public sphere
  • Spanish