The Social Organization of Institutional Norms Interactional Management of Knowledge, Entitlement and Stance
Sammanfattning: 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.
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