This paper seeks to critically evaluate part of the New Caledonian independence debate, as discursively enacted by various social actors within the postcolonial space. It is common within Critical Discourse Analysis to investigate texts from the dominant side only and as a monologue in order to elucidate covert power processes. However, this case study simultaneously explores the counter-discourse of resistance, thus offering a more balanced insight in the ongoing conflict situation. A Pragma-Functional approach, combining Systemic Functional Linguistics and Pragma-Dialectics is applied to a set of data across various genres and registers, investigating salient patterns in the discourse samples, produced by various representatives of relevant speech communities. The study demonstrates how the interactants in the New Caledonian independence debate construe power and ideology through the transitivity choices and enthymematic structures they employ, revealing highly incongruous views and assumptions of the reality of 'Caledonianness'. It further argues that the dominant French discourse aims to convince the New Caledonian audience of the truth of their propositions by presenting their view as a common sense solution to the independence issue, whereas the opposing side actively contests this view and, instead, wishes to promote the 'Melanesian way'.
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- systemic functional linguistics
- critical discourse analysis
- postcolonial discourse
- pragma-functional approach