Verbal Conflict Theory

Using verbal conflict theory, analyze the clash between Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Sean O’Brien, General President International Brotherhood of Teamsters (available at

Consider the three main strategies (endow certain speakers with better opportunities to talk, establish certain regions of knowledge as authentic and meaningful, and link this authenticity to systems of power) and the five main tactics (contextualization tactics, recourse to metapragmatic attacks, opposition moves, format tying structure, tactical use of insults) as they are deployed in these hearings. Identify and analyze detailed examples of these strategies/tactics from the hearings (at least one per category, if you can’t identify an example explain why), transcribe the significant portions, provide the time reference of the excerpt. Finally, go on Twitter (here: and here: and analyze FOUR (two and two) comments to this story. Your essay should be around 1,500-2,000 words long.