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What Place References Can Do in Social Research Interviews

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date06/2013
JournalDiscourse Studies
Journal number3
Volume15
Pages333-351
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Place is central to many research projects in the social sciences, but it is often taken by researchers as a given. Recently, discourse analysts have devoted more attention to the construction of place in interaction. We focus on one aspect of this construction, the process of drawing inferences from place categories and place names, in transcripts of oral history interviews. We apply Membership Categorization Analysis (MCA) to descriptions of house types and houses, showing how some categories are presented as being shared and recognizable, and how inferences are projected. Then we apply a similar approach to the ways inferences are drawn from place names, focusing especially on proximity. Participants’ categories can be investigated by examining the ways they are used in question-answer pairs, and in the construction of turns using elaborations, contrasting pairs, negatives, and qualifications. This analysis shows the work these place references do for the participants, for instance in categorizing themselves and others and giving accounts for behaviour.