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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 28, Issue 1


Accounting for moral judgments in academic talk: The case of a conversation analysis data session

Charles Antaki / Michela Biazzi / Anette Nissen / Johannes Wagner
Published Online: 2008-03-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/TEXT.2008.001


This article explores one aspect of scholarly work as a situated practice: the way that, in a conversation analysis group data session, scholars juggle their technical talk with personal value judgments ostensibly inappropriate to the practices of this particular branch of the social sciences. We see how value judgments are handled, and what visible part they play in proceeding with the formal, institutionally provided for, technical analysis. In the case we explore, some members of a routine data session (the authors) expressed negative evaluative views of the actions of a participant in the video they were analyzing, which at various points they characterized as ‘cynical’, ‘begging’, and ‘a shocker’. We show the data-session participants' orientation to these moral judgments, and their search for resolution in safely technical terms. Our interest is in bringing to light the workings of a routine piece of scholarly teamwork, not often subject to scrutiny; and to reveal how accountability plays its part in scholars' management of competing institutional, and personal, identities.

Keywords: conversation analysis; academic talk; accountability; morality; discursive psychology; institutional talk

About the article

Charles Antaki

Is Professor of Language and Social Psychology at Loughborough University, where he is a member of the Discourse and Rhetoric Group. His research interests are in conversation analysis.

Michela Biazzi

Has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pavia (Italy). She wrote her dissertation within the framework of interactional linguistics, working on reformulations in naturally occurring interactions among first- and second-language speakers of Italian. She is also interested in SLA and migration sociolinguistics.

Anette Nissen

Has an M.A. in English, Phonetics, and Italian. She is currently a Teacher of Danish as a Second Language at AOFSYD Sprogskole Tønder, and a Ph.D. student at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her thesis work is on prosodic resources in conversations between native and non-native speakers of Danish, with a special focus on repeats and their interactional meaning.

Johannes Wagner

Is a professor of Language and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, where he heads the International Graduate School in Language and Communication. Much of his research concerns talk and interactions between second-language speakers in workplaces, in the public and private sphere.

*Address for correspondence: Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK

Published Online: 2008-03-11

Published in Print: 2008-01-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 28, Issue 1, Pages 1–30, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/TEXT.2008.001.

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