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S522 Lecture 6. March 2 Positioning.

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s522 lecture 6

S522 Lecture 6

March 2



“ ..a conversation unfolds through the joint action of all the participants as they make (or attempt to make) their own and each other’s actions socially determinate. A speech-action can become a speech-act to the extent it is taken up as such by all the participants……..The social meaning of what has been said will be shown to depend upon the positioning of interlocutors….We shall use the term ‘discursive practice’ for all the ways in which people actively produce social an psychological realitiesDavies and Harré, p 45

harr and van langenhove
Harré and van Langenhove

3 basic processes of the social realm:

• conversation

• institutional practices

• use of societal rhetoric

Conversations have storylines and the positions that people take in a conversation will be linked to these storylines.

  • Rhetorical re-description: ‘ discursive construction of stories about institutions and macrosocial events that make them intelligible’
  • Hollway (1984) positioning oneself and taking up positions: ‘Discourses make available positions for subjects to take up. These positions are in relation to other people.’
  • First order: A puts B in a position by eg requesting or demanding something
  • Second order: B resists request and therefore the positioning, and so re-positions A accordingly
  • Third order: B (or A) gives an account of the incident to C, positioning themselves as desired in the account, and also positioning C as the audience with assumed shared values or perceptions
intentional positioning
Intentional positioning
  • Deliberate self-positioning
  • Forced self positioning
  • Deliberate positioning by others
  • Forced positioning by others
deliberate self positioning
Deliberate self-positioning
  • Expressing personal identity
  • Display of self-consciousness
  • Display of agency
  • Telling autobiographical stories
  • Use of ‘I’ (or not) to indicate self’s role in this, taking responsibility (or being a victim)
forced self positioning
Forced self-positioning
  • Power of others to ask self to give an account -> accounts which position self as justified, blameworthy, seeking permission of excuse, etc etc
deliberate positioning of others
Deliberate positioning of others
  • Direct acts to person present
  • Indirect through gossip, third person accounts etc
forced positioning of others
Forced positioning of others
  • Making a person take a role in a situation
  • Being part of a ritualised interaction or setting (such as a trial) where types of speech acts are prescribed according to certain roles and rules for each participant.