A study of the development of topical behavior within an experimental relationship frame

Winskowski, Christine
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This study is an investigation of topicalization behavior observed in the context or frame of an experimental relationship. Two previously unacquainted women met for six, one-hour periods, called episodes, holding topically unrestricted conversation with one another. These conversations were tape recorded and transcribed; the transcriptions formed the data corpus. The transcripts were studied for the patterns observable in the topicalizing produced by the participants. These structural features were evident: a) the transcripts "broke up" into segments, termed. topical exchange units I identified. by a network of referents in the talk that corresponded from talking turn to talking turn; b) talking turns cohered in groups of twos, threes, and fours (occasionally more) called rounds, indicated by the fact of turns being reciprocally addressed and replied to. These units appeared to be natural units of interaction in a topical medium. It was then observed. that the topicalization for each participant, Ann and Beth, had a unique, characteristic, and identifying pattern called role type, consisting of regularities in the content, use of topicalization mechanisms (raising topic, furthering topic, legitimizing, etc.), and style of argumentation (avoiding, pursuing, etc.). The occurrence of characteristic features of each person's talk were documented: Ann's, for its inherently dramatic narratives, and Beth's, for its tenacious pursuit of certain topics. The notion of role type was related to contemporary interests in the study of personality. An examination was then made of the developmental nature of meaning in the transcript data. One sample topic from the third episode was selected, and its historical development traced through the first and second episodes. It was observed that an understanding of the positions and arguments presented by the participants involved. a historical development of logic, based. on the distinctive perspective of each. The meaning of much of the segment in the third episode was situated. in a consideration of the events from the prior episodes. Thus the meaning in a transcript record reflect a developmental argument logic. Situated in the natural frame of a relationship, patterns of topicalizing reflect patterns in the events that transpired in the relationship.
Photocopy of typescript.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1978.
Bibliography: leaves 92-96.
96 leaves
Discourse analysis, Oral communication
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Psychology; no. 1172
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