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The Social Organization of Institutional Norms: Interactional Management of Knowledge, Entitlement and Stance
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Institutionella normer i samtal : Social organisering av kunskap, berättigande och positionering (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis explores talk in institutional settings, with a particular focus on how institutionality and institutional norms are constructed and reproduced in interaction. A central aim is to enhance our understanding of how institutional agendas are talked into being. In line with the ethno­methodological approach, norms are viewed as accomplished in everyday interaction, whereas institutionality represents dimensions of talk where participants demonstrably orient to particular contextual constraints. Five studies were conducted using Conversation Analysis (CA), focusing on how institutional constraints impact sequential trajectories and shape different opportunities for participants.

The data consists of two corpora of video recordings: group tutorials at a Swedish university (UTs), and performance appraisal interviews in an organ­ization (PAIs). The thesis pays particular attention to the interactional management of knowledge, entitlement and stance, and analytic foci include how speakers manage epistemic claims and rights at a certain point in interaction, and how they accomplish social positioning. The UT studies examine the negotiation of rights to speak for others in a group (Study I), and how diver­ging understandings of the institutional activity-at-hand can be negotiated on the basis of students’ advice-seeking questions (Study II). In Study III, orientations to institutional and sociocultural norms are investigated in the PAIs, where managers and employees treat negative stances on stress as problematic. The relationship between theory and institutional practice in the use of question templates in PAIs is also examined, through an analysis of the delivery and receipt of a particular question in different interviews (Study IV). Focusing on different adaptations of a preset item, this analysis shows how the same question sets up for a variety of subsequent actions. Finally, deployment of the verb känna (‘feel’) in managing epistemic access and primacy is examined (Study V). It is argued that ‘feel’ allows for a reduction of accountability when making epistemic claims. The studies highlight the relationship between linguistic formats and social actions and illustrate how institutional agendas have consequences for participant conduct. Attention to the details of actions in institutional interaction can thus shed light on social and linguistic underpinnings of the enactment of institutional norms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Scandinavian Languages , 2012. , 76 p.
Series
Skrifter / utgivna av Institutionen för nordiska språk vid Uppsala universitet, ISSN 0083-4661 ; 87
Keyword [en]
Institutional interaction, Institutional norms, Conversation Analysis, Seminar, Performance appraisal interview, Stance, Epistemics, Entitlement
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169506ISBN: 978-91-506-2273-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-169506DiVA: diva2:508961
Public defence
2012-04-27, Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3, Engelska parken, Uppsala, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-04-04 Created: 2012-03-01 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Vadå vi? Tala för dig själv!: Om oenighet och identitet vid seminarier
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vadå vi? Tala för dig själv!: Om oenighet och identitet vid seminarier
2008 (Swedish)In: Språk & Stil, ISSN 1101-1165, Vol. 18, 93-111 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study the social actions pertaining to speaking for someone else and being spoken for are studied in an educational setting, namely a seminar meeting for undergraduates. The data on which this study is based consist of a total of five hours of video-recorded seminar meetings at a Swedish university.

The first part of the study focuses on three sequences in which the above mentioned social actions are central for the participants. Through CA-techniques the actions are described and examined from the participants’ perspective. When speaking for more people than oneself, the speaker runs the risk of facing objections from the co-speaker(s) present. He/she/they may not accept being spoken for, and this may be put forward as a disagreement at which point the premises of the previous turn(s) may be renegotiated.

In the second part of the study, these social actions are connected to ‘identity’. This is seen as something that is continually achieved in interaction, rather than something that is ‘reflected’ in discourse. Hence, speaking for more people than oneself can be seen as an action which ascribes cospeaker(s) an identity. The analysis shows that the disagreement sequences presented in the first part of the article function as a forum in which a specific student identity can be put on display. The disagreement is used as a resource for the students to position themselves and take on an identity as the good students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Adolf Noreen-sällskapet för svensk språk- och stilforskning, 2008
Keyword
Swedish, Conversation Analysis (CA), participation, identity, university education
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-88404 (URN)
Available from: 2011-10-07 Created: 2009-01-31 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. ”Om du har något annat ord för det?”: Hur deltagares skilda perspektiv kommer till uttryck i ett undervisningssammanhang
Open this publication in new window or tab >>”Om du har något annat ord för det?”: Hur deltagares skilda perspektiv kommer till uttryck i ett undervisningssammanhang
2010 (Swedish)In: Språk & Stil, ISSN 1101-1165, Vol. 20, 165-188 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines how participants interactionally display and construct their different orientationstowards an ongoing activity. On an overarching level, they participate in the same activity,but on a local level it can be demonstrated that they exercise activities with different goals. I referto their diverse orientations as different perspectives on the ongoing activity. The analytic emphasisis placed on how participants’ perspectives are interactionally accomplished.

The two sequences analyzed in this paper are extracted from video recordings of Swedish universitytutorials. Through close analysis of the interaction, it is demonstrated that the request forscientific terms is used as a resource for the teacher to direct the scope of the interaction. Moreover,this action demonstrates how the teacher’s perspective expresses a preferred focus on an abstract‘scientific’ level. The teacher’s perspective diverges from several students’ perspectives, which inturn demonstrates different orientations towards the ongoing activity.

From an educational point of view the study provides us with a deeper understanding of howstudents and teachers may perceive and treat the same activity in the classroom in diverging ways.In a wider context, the study also gives us insights into how different individuals interactionallyconstruct their different understandings of the same context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Adolf Noreen-sällskapet för svensk språk- och stilforskning, 2010
Keyword
Conversation Analysis (CA), academic discourse, university tutorial, perspective, participation, Swedish, Akademisk diskurs, Conversation Analysis (CA), undervisning, perspektiv, deltagande, Svenska
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-144605 (URN)
Available from: 2011-10-12 Created: 2011-02-01 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
3. The Performance Appraisal Interview -  An Arena for the Reinforcement of Norms for Employeeship
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Performance Appraisal Interview -  An Arena for the Reinforcement of Norms for Employeeship
Show others...
2011 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, ISSN 2245-0157, Vol. 1, no 2, 59-75 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present paper, we report findings from a study of performance appraisal interviews between middle managers and employees. The study is based on analysis of video uptake of authentic performance appraisal interviews, and through detailed examination of participant conduct and orientation, we point to structural mechanisms and institutional norms which limit the possibilities for employees to raise topics connected to negative experiences of stress in performance appraisal talk. It is argued that norms concerning ideal employeeship are shaped by a partly hidden curriculum in the organization which in turn is talked into being in the performance appraisal interviews. The study concludes that empirical attention to the social interplay in performance appraisal interactions reveal how participant conduct aligns or disaligns with institutional and social underpinnings of workplace ideals.

Keyword
Performance appraisal interview, ideal worker, staff development, conversation analysis, hidden curriculum
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-159705 (URN)
Projects
JämVäxt – Jämställd Hållbar Tillväxt
Available from: 2011-12-07 Created: 2011-10-07 Last updated: 2015-01-08
4. From Paper to Practice: Asking and Responding to a Standardized Question Item in Performance Appraisal Interviews
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Paper to Practice: Asking and Responding to a Standardized Question Item in Performance Appraisal Interviews
2014 (English)In: Pragmatics and Society, ISSN 1878-9714, E-ISSN 1878-9722, Vol. 5, no 2, 165-190 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we examine how a standardized question is launched and received in a corpus of performance appraisal interviews, with a particular focus on how a particular question is translated from the interview template into actions in interaction. We examine different delivery formats of our target question and how reformulations versus verbatim ‘reading format’ deliveries impact subsequent employee answers and sequence development. Seemingly minor alterations make relevant more specific second parts, and as a result, different employees essentially receive different questions. The target question can also be recruited to initiate other interactional projects, such as assessment sequences, and managers recurrently orient to a role as animators rather than authors of the question, which reduces social complications of negative performance appraisal. Our empirical context allows us to discuss the relationship between theory and practice in an activity type where institutional agendas come into play when using templates.

Keyword
performance appraisal interview, standardization, conversation analysis, question design, assessment, template
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169504 (URN)10.1075/ps.5.2.01nyr (DOI)000342729900001 ()
Available from: 2012-03-01 Created: 2012-03-01 Last updated: 2017-12-07
5. It feels kinda important maybe: 'Feel' as an Interactional Resource for Managing Stance and Accountability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>It feels kinda important maybe: 'Feel' as an Interactional Resource for Managing Stance and Accountability
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

How ‘inner’ processes are invoked in talk-in-interaction has been a topic for conversation analysts ever since Sacks identified ‘private thought’ as a phenomenon. This paper provides an overview of the social actions organized by use of the Swedish verb “känna” – which translates as ‘feel’ – in data from university tutorials. In this exploratory study, “känna” is not treated as a linguistic item specific to Swedish, but rather as a language-transcendent social action, referred to as ‘feel’. Three main functions are distinguished:

(1) The teacher animates the students in hypothetical but probable scenarios, in which he ascribes them different feelings. These episodes show clear pedagogical features. (2) ‘Feel’ operates as a hedging device when epistemic claims are made. Its subjective quality diminishes or eliminates potential risks of accountability. (3) ‘Feel’ is deployed in questions and formulations concerning the ongoing interaction. The teacher constructs questions eliciting progress reports with ‘feel’, whereas the students deploy ‘feel’ to formulate complaints, reflections and assessments. These formulations concern their ongoing project, which all the other participants have (varying) epistemic access to.

In sum, ‘feel’ serves as an interactional device that allows the speaker to create an interactional space in which accountability and responsibility can be negotiated.

Keyword
Conversation Analysis, institutional talk, classroom interaction, university tutorial, stance-taking, accountability, formulations
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169503 (URN)
Available from: 2012-03-01 Created: 2012-03-01 Last updated: 2012-09-05Bibliographically approved

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