natural English conversation between friends over drinks show speakers not only

Natural english conversation between friends over

This preview shows page 6 - 8 out of 27 pages.

natural English conversation between friends over drinks) show speakers not only avowing contradictory identities but also invoking both group distinctiveness and similarity. They argue strongly for working from participants’ own orientations to identity, rather than analytically derived social categories. Verkuyten’s (1997) study of how ethnic minority identity is presented in natural talk, based on focus groups of Turks living in the Netherlands, suggests the fruitfulness of this approach. Critiquing social identity theory, Verkuyten shows that people construct and cross borders of various categories in defining themselves; respondents did not use fixed categories, and differentiations were not always oppositional. Language thus links the cognitive and interactive traditions. Hermans (1996) proposes development of a voiced conception of identity that integrates these tra- ditions, a conception that points to collective voices (social dialects, professional Annu. Rev. Sociol. 2000.26:367-393. Downloaded from arjournals.annualreviews.org by Columbia University on 02/14/05. For personal use only.
Image of page 6
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF IDENTITIES 373 jargons, languages of generations and age groups) and facilitates greater recog- nition of the dynamics of dominance and social power. Rapley (1998) aptly il- lustrates this last point in his analysis of Australian MP Pauline Hanson’s first speech to the Australian Parliament (in 1996). Rapley addresses three questions: how speakers construct themselves as representative of the audience they wish to influence, how the appearance of truth/fact is constructed in political rhetoric, and how Hanson constructed her case as representative of and credible for her audience. Rapley shows how Hanson treats identities as discursive resources in her strategic manipulation of identity claims to membership category entitlement, claims that contributed to the mobilization necessary to her election. Rapley makes the intriguing point that identity work and facticity work are mutually supporting, and often inseparable, components of successful mobilization discourse. Other scholars in this tradition extend the terrain to other forms of discourse, especially visual media. Epstein & Steinberg (1995) analyze the feminist potential of the Oprah Winfrey show through deconstructions of the show in relation to two themes, a presumption of heterosexuality, and the use of a therapy discourse. They note the show’s emphasis on individual pathology (rather than social processes). Hollander’s (1998) analysis of a dating game show, “Studs,” shows how both ver- bal and nonverbal gestures do the identity work of gender, most obviously, but also of heterosexuality, race (in the show’s homogeneity), and class. In one of the few empirical studies of discourse about social class, Bettie (1995) analyzes the class dynamics of sitcoms. Bettie suggests that a pattern of recent shows, in which work- ing class women are cast as lead characters and men are either absent or buffoons, reflects demographic shifts toward more women in poverty. Analyses of media
Image of page 7
Image of page 8

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 27 pages?

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture