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The discursive management of emotionality in the L2 research interview

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Item Summary

Title: The discursive management of emotionality in the L2 research interview
Authors: Prior, Matthew Thomas
Keywords: second language research interviews
Issue Date: May 2011
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2011]
Abstract: This study investigates the ways in which emotions and emotionality are managed as topics and resources in second language (L2) research interviews. A continued challenge for researchers is how to define and operationalize emotions and other putative psychological phenomena. One popular research methodology that treats emotions as the object and product of inquiry is the qualitative interview, where emotions are investigated as initiators, inhibitors, or outcomes of language-related activity. However, a growing criticism of interview research is that by elevating the thematic and dramatic content of the talk we ignore the methodic interactional practices by which the data are produced.
Data are drawn from 30 hours of face-to-face interviews with adult immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines living in the US and Canada. Using the methodology of conversation analysis, and informed by ethnomethodology and discursive psychology, I examine how emotions are invoked, represented, and made procedurally consequential in interview interaction. Three specific interactional resources are examined: (a) emotion story prefaces used by interviewees to project emotion-implicative stories fitting the interview agenda, (b) interviewer questioning sequences and their function in eliciting interview talk of emotions and emotional experiences, and (c) emotion reformulations and how particular emotion-indexing terms are used to offer, take up, reject, and scale various descriptions.
Talk of negative emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, shame) and experiences (e.g., problems, complaints, discrimination) was found to be particularly salient in the data. One explanation is that this is what is cooperatively treated as memorable, tellable, and expected in research interviews and autobiographic talk. This study further demonstrates that a discursive approach to emotions, employing a conversation analytic methodology, offers a systematic and empirical means to analyze, rather than summarize or speculate about emotions and emotional talk. It also allows a careful methodological and analytical critique of our research processes.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Second Language Acquisition

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