2008 Psychology of Women Section 21st Anniversary Conference 'Rights and Changes'
Conference Venue: Cumberland Lodge, The Great Park, Windsor
Psychology of Women Section
From: 16 Jul 2008
To: 18 Jul 2008
Feminist Conversation Analysis C. Kitzinger
Paper one - C. Kitzinger, Feminist Conversation Analysis Unit, University of York (postdoctorate), firstname.lastname@example.org - On gender and interruption: A conversation analytic approach
It is recurrently claimed in the gender and language research field that men (and other people with power) interrupt women (and other relatively powerless people) and that these interruptions are ways of ‘doing power’. This talk brings a conversation analytic understanding of “interruption” (based in the classic turn-taking model of Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson 1975) to bear on this question. Drawing on actual instances of recorded naturally-occurring cross-gender conversations, I show how “interruptions” should properly be understood - such that definitions in much of the existing literature are problematic - and also that “interruption” (starting to speak incursively during the course of another person’s turn) is not necessarily a hostile or uncooperative activity. I consider the implications of conversation analysis for research in this area and for gender and language research more broadly.
Paper two - C. T. Stockill, University of York (postgraduate) - The Gendered ‘I’: Gendered self-reference in talk-in-interaction
It is not enough to say that a person speaks as a woman just because she happens to be one, as she is other things besides; a vegetarian, a Leo, a researcher, a teacher, a mother and so on. Using conversation analysis, I am interested in showing how and in the pursuits of what actions gendered identities are made relevant in talk. The analytic focus of this paper is on self-referring in its most common form of ‘I’. In English, the word ‘I’ does not contain any identity information about the speaker. Yet, in my corpus of mundane telephone calls made/received by girls and young women there are instances in which the speakers are referring to themselves in hearably gendered terms with ‘I’. My work contributes to feminist understanding of gender as a resource for social action in talk-in-interaction, as well as to conversation analytic research on person reference.
Paper three - S. Speer, University of Manchester (postdoctorate) - On passing as a 'real woman'
Psychiatrists at Gender Identity Clinics are essentially ‘gatekeepers’ for transsexuals seeking 'cross sex' hormones and sex reassignment surgery. They assess the patient in part for whether or not they have a realistic view of themselves in their new role. This means that it may be clinically consequential for patients to offer evidence that they ‘pass’ with others outside the clinic as 'real' men/women. Drawing on an analysis of recorded interactions, I suggest that one way patients do this is through reported compliments of third parties (e.g., 'People at work think I've got a lovely figure'). Building on conversation analytic work on compliments and the epistemics of self-assessment, I argue that reported third party compliments allow speakers to provide objective evidence of positive features of their appearance, attributes or characters, without engaging in 'overt' self praise or bragging - actions that are often subject to direct or indirect sanctions.
Paper four - S. Wilkinson, Loughborough University (postdoctorate) - “The first thing you do is take your bra off”: Gender, routinization and recipient design
This paper examines the relevance of gender in analyzing calls to a helpline for people suffering from fibromyalgia (a condition characterized by widespread and persistent pain, diagnosed far more commonly in women than in men). I show that, although there are highly-routinized elements to the advice and information offered by the call-taker across a series of calls, she nonetheless designs this advice and information with the characteristics of her recipient in mind. One of these characteristics is the recipient’s gender. Certain formulations (e.g. involving removing one’s bra) are produced only in interactions with callers who are hearably female (and never with those who are hearably male). I discuss the value – and limitations – of this kind of distributional analysis for providing evidence of orientations to gender in the analysis of talk-in-interaction.
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