Stancetaking strategies in Lithuanian argumentative journalistic discourse on migration and refugees

31 May 2024
Conference Room

Stancetaking strategies in Lithuanian argumentative journalistic discourse on migration and refugees

In the recent decade, stance has become the focus of inquiry in discourse on migration and refugees in British, Spanish, Polish, and other national media (Martínez Lirola, 2017; Kopytowska, Grabowski, 2017; Tavassoli et al., 2019). The present study aims to identify speaker/writer positioning towards refugees and immigrants in Lithuanian journalistic discourse by exploring the realisation of epistemic and effective stance. The study is based on analysis of stance in opinion columns that deal with two migration waves: the Syrian crisis in 2014-2016 and the humanitarian crisis of 2021 when Lithuania and Poland faced the arrival of Syrian and Iraqi migrants through Belarus. The objective is to examine how Lithuanian columnists express epistemic and effective positioning in two different news outlets: the national public broadcaster LRT (Lithuanian National Radio and Television) and the privately owned website

Drawing on the framework of stance developed by Marín-Arrese (2011), the study focuses on expressions of epistemic stance, which includes the subcategories of epistemic modality, evidentiality, factivity, and cognitive attitude, and on realisations of effective stance, which comprises the subcategories of deonticity, potentiality, intentionality, directivity, and normativity.         The data have been drawn from the self-compiled corpora of opinion columns collected from the public broadcaster LRT and the privately owned website in the years 2015 and 2021.

The preliminary results show the higher frequencies of epistemic and effective stancetaking strategies in the opinion columns of LRT than in the opinions voiced by columnists in These distributional differences may suggest the national broadcaster’s serious concern about reaching out to the audience through the frequent use of stance expressions. In both news outlets, the realisation of effective stance is more dominant than that of epistemic stance, which reflects columnists’ intention to call politicians, institutions and society for action that could change the course of reality.



Kopytowska, M. & Grabowski, Ł. (2017). European security under threat: Mediating the crisis and constructing the other. In National Identity and Europe in Times of Crisis: Doing and Undoing Europe (pp. 83-112). Bingley: Emeral Publishing Limited.

Marín-Arrese, J. I. (2011). Effective vs. epistemic stance and subjectivity in political discourse. In Critical Discourse Studies in Context and Cognition (pp. 257-290). John Benjamins.

Martínez Lirola, M. (2017). Discursive legitimation of criminalization and victimization of Sub-Sharan immigrants in Spanish El País and ABC newspapers. In Representing the Other in European Media Discourses (pp. 135-154). John Benjamins.

Tavassoli, F., Jalilifar, A. & White, P. RR. (2019). British newspapers’ stance towards the Syrian refugee crisis: An appraisal model study. Discourse and Society 30 (1), 64-84.