Summary of Deborah Tannen's the Argument Culture

Topics: Debate, Argumentation theory, Robert Gallo Pages: 3 (892 words) Published: June 25, 2013
Have we become a world that has forgotten how to listen and debate? Why are people so quick to argue? Everyone wants to prove their point these days. In “The Argument Culture,” Deborah Tannen discusses how today’s society no longer honors the noble American tradition of debate. She explains how we no longer want to take the time to listen to both sides and definitely not all sides of an issue. We have become a society that would rather fight and argue, often to the point of violence. “The war on drugs, the war on cancer, the battle of the sexes, politicians’ turf battles- in the argument culture war metaphors pervade our talk and shape our thinking,” affirms Tannen. We approach the world in an argumentative frame of mind.” Why do we feel that the best way to discuss an idea is to set up a debate? “Without thinking, we have plunged headfirst into what she calls the argument culture. According to Tannen, we are becoming a society that believes the best way to settle a dispute is with litigation that pits one party against the other. We would rather criticize and attack instead of rationally discussing our differences of opinion. Tannen states that, “conflict can’t be avoided in our public lives anymore than we can avoid conflict with people we love.” But we should remember to settle our differences without offending others or causing real damage. Tannen agrees that there are times when it is necessary and right to fight and defend ourselves or our country especially when we feel that something is offensive or dangerous. But she warns that we have become a generation that approaches any issue or problem with confrontation. Tannen states that people are much more likely to call into radio or talk shows or write argumentative letters if there is a verbal confrontation taking place. We see this every day in our culture. It is what sells. Society loves to be argumentative. Consider all the television shows where ordinary people are paid a...


Cited: Tannen, Deborah. “The Argument Culture.” The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers. Ed. Stephen Reid. 10th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2014. 305-09. Print.
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