`Identity' attracts some of social science's liveliest and most passionate debates. Theory abounds on matters as disparate as nationhood, ethnicity, gender politics and culture. However, there is considerably less investigation into how such identity issues appear in the fine grain of everyday life. This book gathers together, in a collection of chapters drawing on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, arguments which show that identities are constructed `live' in the actual exchange of talk. By closely examining tapes and transcripts of real social interactions from a wide range of situations, the volume explores just how it is that a person can be ascribed to a category and what features about that category are cons

Identity, Context and Interaction

Identity, Context and Interaction

Identity, context and interaction
Don H.Zimmerman

The concept of ‘identity’, particularly in relation to discourse, can be variously specified, for example, as an independent variable accounting for participants' use of particular linguistic or discourse devices; as a means of referring to and making inferences about self and other; as a constructed display of group membership, as a rhetorical device, and so on. In this chapter, I propose to treat identity as an element of context for talk-in-interaction. Indeed, any of the previously listed applications of the concept would depend in some way on identity as a contextual element of a given discourse. I note here that I use the term ‘discourse’ in this chapter as shorthand for referring to talk-in-interaction, the domain of concerted ...

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