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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 33, Issue 6


Decrypting the text: the construction and function of disagreement in Bible study sessions

Riikka Nissi
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  • Modern Finnish and Translation, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Vaasa, PB 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland
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Published Online: 2013-11-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2013-0033


This paper examines how disagreement over the meaning of the text is conducted and managed in a religious peer-group conversation. Using Bible study sessions as data and ethnomethodological conversation analysis as a method, it investigates how different interpretative versions meet, clash, and merge in social interaction. The paper focuses on the oppositional turn and its linguistic composition and describes three disagreement types: denials, contradictions, and corrections and additions. The paper shows that although all of them treat the previous interpretation as insufficient, they are used to accomplish different social actions and are carefully chosen to fit to their local interactional context. Furthermore, these disagreement types vary depending on how explicitly they express the polarity between the presented views, and in so doing may allow several possible interpretations or enforce participants to construct one definite meaning for the discussed text.

Keywords: disagreement; oppositional turn; text interpretation; religious conversation; institutional interaction; conversation analysis

About the article

Riikka Nissi

Riikka Nissi received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in a project investigating the networks of texts and face-to-face encounters in different organizations. Her research interests include institutional and professional interaction, especially focusing on the construction of knowledge and identities in a conversation. Address for correspondence: Department of Modern Finnish and Translation, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Vaasa, PB 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland 〈 〉.

Published Online: 2013-11-07

Published in Print: 2013-11-25

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 33, Issue 6, Pages 771–791, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2013-0033.

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Riikka Nissi and Esa Lehtinen
Pragmatics, 2015, Volume 25, Number 3, Page 393

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